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Immune Response to HIV

Does Lack of Anti-HIV Antibodies in Blood Help Protect against Infection?

People whose immune systems mount a weaker response to HIV may be resistant to infection, since the T-cells that proliferate in the blood when they encounter invaders provide ideal targets for the virus, suggests research published in the February 9, 2011, advance online edition of Immunity. Investigators found that monkeys who were immunized with a gp41 vaccine and developed mucosal anti-HIV antibodies were almost fully protected against vaginal infection, even though they did not have detectable circulating blood antibodies.

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Up to 30% of People with HIV Develop Neutralizing Antibodies that May Slow Disease Progression

Between 10% and 30% of people with HIV produce broadly cross-reactive antibodies against the virus during the first few years of infection, according to research published in the January 13, 2011, edition PLoS Pathogens. These early antibodies, which target a conserved region of HIV's outer envelope, are associated with lower plasma viral load, and investigators suggested their findings could aid development of an effective vaccine.

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Early Antiretroviral Treatment Can Help Preserve B-Cell Immune Function

People with HIV have lower levels of antibody-producing B-cells than HIV negative individuals, but numbers rise significantly after initiation of effective antiretroviral therapy (ART), according to a study published in the September 13, 2010 advance online edition of Blood. What's more, people at an early stage of HIV infection had more fresh B-cells and achieved full recovery, while those with chronic infection had more immature or exhausted cells and did not reach normal levels, suggesting it may be beneficial to start ART sooner, while B-cell immune function is still relatively well preserved.

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