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SA antibody breakthrough ‘brings HIV vaccine closer’


SOUTH African scientists have discovered how some people can make potent antibodies capable of neutralising strains of HIV, taking researchers a step closer to developing a vaccine.

A vaccine that prevents HIV infection has proven elusive for decades, partly because there are many different varieties of the rapidly evolving virus. One of the strategies scientists are exploring is how to produce a vaccine that prompts the body to make "broadly acting antibodies" that combat multiple strains of HIV.

Scientists have known for some time that about one in five people infected with HIV is capable of making these powerful antibodies after they have been infected for several years, but exactly how they arise has been a mystery.

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