24/7 Space News  





. Los Alamos Researchers Recommend AIDS Vaccine Strategies

HIV has an extraordinary knack for rapidly changing, making it difficult to control. HIV evolves even within a single individual to become a genetically diverse set of viruses. Because of this genetic variability, development of a vaccine that will attack common vulnerabilities in multiple strains of the virus becomes extremely difficult.

Los Alamos - Jul 11, 2002
Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy's Los Alamos National Laboratory are using their extensive genetic understanding of the HIV-1 virus - the most common form of the virus that causes AIDS in humans - to consider best strategies in the pursuit of creating a vaccine to fight the virus.

In an article appearing recently in the journal Science, a team of Los Alamos researchers - in conjunction with researchers from Duke University, Harvard School of Public Health and the University of Alabama - suggests using a consensus or genetic ancestor of the HIV-1 virus when developing vaccines, rather than basing vaccines on geographically specific strains of the virus.

"We started working on this problem several years ago in response to a request from the National Institutes of Health to review strategies for HIV vaccine development," said Bette Korber of Los Alamos' Theoretical Division. "Essentially, there is no common strategy for vaccine development. Often, vaccine candidates are selected solely because a particular strain happens to be available.

"But HIV-1 strains circulating globally are extremely variable genetically, so choosing a locally available virus as basis for a worldwide vaccine may not be the best strategy. Our team has recommended considering alternative strategies of selecting vaccine strains that are central to circulating forms of the HIV-1 virus."

Los Alamos is home to a worldwide database of HIV virus information. Los Alamos' HIV database has extensive information on the genetic structure of the virus and information on various strains and subtypes, among other information.

HIV has an extraordinary knack for rapidly changing, making it difficult to control. HIV evolves even within a single individual to become a genetically diverse set of viruses. Because of this genetic variability, development of a vaccine that will attack common vulnerabilities in multiple strains of the virus becomes extremely difficult.

An example of how quickly HIV changes can be illustrated by comparing it with the common influenza virus. Typically, HIV variation within a single infected individual can be as great as the variation of influenza throughout the entire worldwide-infected population in a flu season.

In addition, some genetic forms of the virus, called subtypes, are more prevalent than others in some geographic regions. A strain common in South Africa, for example, may be rare in Thailand. This fact compounds the difficulty of developing a worldwide vaccine based on a particular strain.

Subtype C is the most common worldwide, while Subtype B is most prevalent in the United States. What makes HIV-1 even more devious is that the Subtype B virus may evolve differently than the Subtype C virus.

"When we looked at the entire genome of HIV-1, we could see no advantage to using a region-specific virus as a basis for a vaccine," said Brian Gaschen of Los Alamos' Theoretical Division and lead author of the Science article. "Then we started thinking about using a 'consensus sequence' of the virus as a basis for a vaccine. A consensus sequence in effect is a modeled virus which incorporates the most common amino acid found at each location within a viral protein as its basis."

The Los Alamos research team recommended using a consensus sequence obtained from the Subtype C of the HIV-1 virus as a basis for vaccines in regions where the C subtype is most prevalent. Alternatively, they considered using a "vaccine cocktail" to increase the efficacy of the vaccine and to reduce the chances that the virus will evolve into a resistant strain before it is destroyed.

"We hope that this work will help provide a baseline strategy for vaccine development," Gaschen said.

The Los Alamos team includes Gaschen, Korber, Jesse Taylor, Karina Yusim, Brian Foley, Dorothy Lang and Tanmoy Bhattacharya, all of the Theoretical Division. The team also includes Feng Gao and Barton Haynes of Duke University; Vladimir Novitsky of the Department of Immunology and Infectious Diseases, Harvard School of Public Health; and Beatrice Hahn of the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Key elements of this research were funded by Laboratory Directed Research and Development. In addition, programmatic support was provided through the NIH-DOE interagency agreement supporting the HIV Databases.

Los Alamos National Laboratory is operated by the University of California for the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) of the U.S. Department of Energy and works in partnership with NNSA's Sandia and Lawrence Livermore national laboratories to support NNSA in its mission.

Los Alamos enhances global security by ensuring the safety and reliability of the U.S. nuclear stockpile, developing technologies to reduce threats from weapons of mass destruction, and solving problems related to energy, environment, infrastructure, health and national security concerns.

Related Links
Los Alamos National Laboratory
SpaceDaily
Search SpaceDaily
Subscribe To SpaceDaily Express




Tempur-Pedic Mattress Comparison

Newsletters :: SpaceDaily Express :: SpaceWar Express :: TerraDaily Express :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News


hello world
Satellite Mapping Tools Prove Invaluable To Medecins Sans Frontieres
Brussels (ESA) Jun 03, 2002
The Brussels section of Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), the aid organisation active in more than 80 countries, is at the forefront of international aid groups using satellite imagery to help deliver emergency medical assistance where, and when, it is needed.

.
Get Our Free Newsletters Via Email
  



  • Marshall Center Engineers Share Secrets Of Chandra's Darkness-Dodging Orbit
  • SDL Delivers Low-Cost Growth Chamber For ISS To Russians
  • Gardens in space
  • Just Feed 'Em Sludge

  • And Now The Weather ... On Mars!
  • Pathfinder's 5th Anniversary Reveals Big Future for Mars Exploration
  • Mars 45 Years From Now
  • South Pole May Provide Test For Mars Drilling

  • Ariane 5 Set To Loft GEO Double July 5
  • Atlas 3 Picks Up Martian Loiter For 2005 Window
  • Sea Launch Sails With PanAmSat Bird For June 15 Launch
  • Boeing Delta IV Stands Ready On Launch Pad

  • Pathfinder Missions To Enhance Our Understanding Of Earth
  • ESA highlights contributions of space imagery to disaster relief
  • ESA Selects New Earth-Observation Missions
  • Around The World In 96 Hours

  • Pluto Probe Design Checks Out As Ready To Build
  • Congress Set To Defy White House Over Pluto Probe
  • Hubble Hunts Down Odd Couples At The Fringes Of Our Solar System
  • Planetary Society to Congress: Restore Pluto and Europa Missions

  • Gamma-Ray Burst Mystery Solved: Exploding Stars The Culprit
  • NASA Ames Astrobiology Explorer Telescope Chosen For Feasibility Study
  • Astronomers Link X-Ray Flashes To Gamma-Ray Bursts
  • Energy Disappears High In Atmosphere, Scientists Say

  • Moon and Earth Formed out of Identical Material
  • Lunar Soil Yields Evidence About Sun's Dynamic Workings
  • Unique tasks for SMART-1 in exploring the Moon
  • NASA Seeks Berth On India's Moon Mission

  • AeroAstro Signs First Resellers For New Global Asset Tracker
  • Qualcomm Demonstrates Transportation Security Technology
  • GPS Brings Real Time Tracking To Australian Logistics
  • Space Station Using GPS In Attitude Control

  • The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2006 - SpaceDaily.AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA PortalReports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additionalcopyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by SpaceDaily on any Web page published or hosted by SpaceDaily. Privacy Statement