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Posted: 28 Aug 2012
Science Around the Blog - 28 August 2012

In this week’s news: Advances in understanding of natural resistance to HIV infection, the envelope is caught in a transitory vulnerable state, and a new adjuvant shows great promise in mice

Low levels of innate immune activation and high levels of gut antibodies may protect people from HIV:

"Several research papers published in the last month have reported strong correlations between specific immune responses and protection against HIV infection or its effects. " (Gus Cairns at aidsmap)

Immune activation, inflammation and HIV acquisition risk

"The geographic variation in the risk of HIV acquisition among heterosexuals has prompted extensive speculation and debate as to the underlying causes. […] Several new papers report data potentially relevant to this topic." (Richard Jefferys)

Structure of pre-fusion state of the HIV Env trimer determined

“We have an extremely exciting, vulnerable state of HIV where [the spike] has just been opened but has not yet gone to [the] post-fusion state,” Subramaniam says. “If you attack it at this stage, then potentially you could catch it before anything happens.” (Andreas von Bubnoff at IAVI blog)

Novel additive boosts effect of vaccines against HIV and Flu in mice:

“Gaining complete protection against flu from just one immunisation is pretty unheard of, even in a study in mice,” says Professor Quentin Sattentau of the Dunn School of Pathology at Oxford University, who led the work. “This gives us confidence that PEI has the potential to be a potent adjuvant for vaccines against viruses like flu or HIV, though there are many steps ahead if it is ever to be used in humans.” (Medical News Today)