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A positive HIV test is not the death sentence that it once was. These days, advancements in testing and treatment have led to vastly improved survival time for individuals with the disease. Nearly every day, scientists report a new discovery that could help carriers of the virus live longer, healthier lives.
For example, researchers from Children's Hospital in Boston recently discovered why antibodies produced by the body's immune system are ineffective at destroying the virus. The investigation team hopes that their findings will lead to the development of improved treatments for HIV.
Researchers found that the immune system continues to produce antibodies that could attack and destroy proteins in the virus following infection. However, these antibodies target proteins in the form they take after the virus has invaded cells, at which point it is too late.
"The key finding of this paper is that we can distinguish the shape of the protein targeted by useful antibodies," said senior author Bing Chen, PhD, who led the study. "That means we can think about designing immunogens trapped in this defined structure and ways to prevent the protein from forming into an irrelevant conformation."
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