Researchers from a number of Universities, including Vanderbilt, MIT, and Harvard, as well as the Seattle Biomedical Research Institute have observed the rapid development of broadly neutralizing antibody immunity to HIV in about 30% of patients. These individuals, who tend to have stronger, healthier immune systems, begin to show these specific antibodies as early as one year after infection, much sooner than previously thought. These broadly neutralizing antibodies target just several specific regions and prevent the HIV virus from entering a cell.
This finding exhibits a major step towards the creation of an HIV vaccine because these specific antibodies are the type which vaccine researchers were hoping to replicate. Because they target only a couple regions, they will be much easier to induce through a vaccine. These antibodies also show immunity to many different strains of HIV, also vital to vaccine development for the disease. While this finding doesn't solve the problem of HIV on its own, the discovery of such rapid development of broadly neutralizing antibodies to HIV marks a significant step towards the development of vaccines which can induce these antibodies.