A neutralizing human antibody has previously been shown to protect against HIV in a monkey model. Dennis R. Burton and colleagues report in Nature that the protective effect is not only due to the antibody's neutralizing activity, that is, its ability to block viral entry into target cells, but also to antiviral responses due to the antibody's ability to bind to Fc receptors on effector cells. Antibody-activated effector cells can act against both free virus and against virus-infected cells.
The study implies that prevention of HIV infection may require activity against both free virions and infected cells, and that vaccine efficacy may be crucially dependent on its ability to elicit a combination of antibody and cell-mediated immunity.
Dennis R. Burton (The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, CA, USA)
John Mascola (NIH, Bethesda, MD, USA)
(C) Nature press release.
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