HIV treatment breakthrough creates antibody that attacks 99 per cent of virus’ strains

An antibody that attacks 99 per cent of HIV strains has been developed by scientists for the first time.

The “exciting breakthrough” could eventually lead to treatment or even prevent transmission of the virus, with trials on humans due to get underway in 2018.

Experiments on 24 monkeys injected with HIV showed none developed the virus after first being given the new type of antibody, which attacks three critical parts of the disease.

The human immune system struggles to deal with HIV due to its ability to mutate and change appearance. Our bodies eventually become overwhelmed by the number of different strains of the virus.

But around one per cent of patients have the ability to develop “broadly neutralising antibodies”. These bind to structures on the surface of the pathogens known as “spikes”.

Spikes barely change and are identical among different strains, making it possible for these special antibodies to attack different mutations of the virus.

Now scientists have managed to combine three of these flexible antibodies into a powerful “tri-specific antibody”.

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