There are immunologic variations between people living with HIV who naturally produce broadly neutralizing antibodies and those who do not. Defining how to replicate these attributes could yield better experimental vaccines, according to National Institutes of Health researchers, whose findings were published in Science Immunology.

Duke University scientists identified these immunologic variations by studying blood samples collected from people living with HIV by the NIAID-supported Center for HIV/AIDS Vaccine Immunology.

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The researchers compared blood samples from 51 individuals with the highest level of antibodies with samples taken from 51 individuals with few antibodies present. The analysis revealed that many variations in immune cell function triggered by chronic HIV infection were  associated with high levels of antibodies, including a higher frequency of memory immune cells, as well as a higher frequency of autoantibodies. 

These findings support approaches to developing an HIV vaccine that involve modifying an individual’s immune system to create similar conditions, the researchers concluded.


1. Moody M, Pedroza-Pacheco I, Vandergrift NA. et al. Immune perturbations in HIV-1-infected individuals who make broadly reactive neutralizing antibodies.  Science Immunology. 2016; DOI: 10.1126/sciimmunol.aag0851.