Immunogen May Help Target HIV

Harnessing the immune system may lead to an effective HIV vaccine strategy.

Researchers discovered an immunogen that could be used to induce the immune system to help target HIV.

Evidence has shown that immunogens can cause B cells to produce broadly neutralizing antibodies (bnAbs), suggesting they could be used as an HIV vaccine strategy. In prior research, scientists used an immunogen that could bind to B cells.

These cells were engineered to express VRC01 class bnAbs, in addition to their germline precursors. However, it was inconclusive on whether immunogens could bind to naïve human B cells and whether there are enough naïve B cells present in different people to make this strategy viable.

During the current study, researchers analyzed different immunogens and compared their potency. They identified eOD-GT8, which showed the ability to bind well to naïve B cells, and outperformed a previous immunogen by a factor of 2100.

Researchers then analyzed millions of B cells from 15 HIV-negative people to determine the prevalence of B cells that interacted with eOD-GT8. The results of the study showed that approximately 96% of humans harbor these B cells. The data suggests that eOD-GT8 has the potential to be a promising candidate for vaccines in the future.