In Connecticut, 10,585 people are currently living with HIV. In 2011, 348 new cases of HIV were diagnosed in Connecticut, of these, 149 (43%) developed the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) within a year of their diagnosis. According to the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS, 1.7 million people worldwide died from AIDS-related causes in the year 2011 alone.
Some HIV-infected individuals do not develop AIDS (the most advanced stage of HIV infection) or have a delayed disease course. Blood from these individuals contains powerful HIV neutralization activity. Understanding how these broadly neutralizing antibodies develop and attack the virus yields clues for HIV vaccine design.
Until now, available methods have not produced the specific information needed to identify broadly neutralizing antibodies that can prevent infection by the majority of HIV strains found around the globe.
This new tool can determine precisely the HIV neutralizing antibodies present in a particular blood sample. Called neutralization fingerprinting, the tool is a mathematical algorithm (a problem-solving procedure) that exploits the large body of data on HIV neutralizing antibodies generated in recent years. The neutralization fingerprint of an HIV antibody identifies which virus strains it can block and how powerful they neutralize HIV. This new tool will help in the development of an effective HIV vaccine..
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