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TXBioBytes from Texas Biomed Episode 017 — Promising Protection Against HIV

Khamis Tomusange, Ph.D. and Siqi Gong

Texas Biomed scientists say what they’ve learned in the lab recently is an exciting development on the front lines of the battle against HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

Using macaques as an animal model, the team showed for the first time that an antibody called immunoglobulin M – called IgM – was effective in preventing infection when the monkeys were exposed to HIV in the mucosal cavity. More than 90 percent of new cases of HIV are caused through exposure to the virus in body cavities during sexual intercourse.

Creating a manmade version of the IgM molecule in the lab and testing it is challenging. Dr. Ruth Ruprecht leads the team which published its findings in a recent journal.

The IgM antibody has multiple arms to catch the virus, making it more efficient in clumping up the virus and keeping it from passing through the mucosal barrier and entering the rest of the body.

For more information on this recent work, click here.