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Issue No. 22 | May 23, 2008

News and Features

NIAID to Fund Novel B Cell Approach to HIV Vaccine Development

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) is launching a $15.6 million, 5-year program that focuses on the study of B cells, the immune cells that produce antibodies with the capacity to neutralize HIV. With the assistance of T cells, B cells recognize specific antigens and produce antibodies against them, which facilitate the destruction of HIV in the body. HIV evades these antibodies by rapid mutation of its antigens, making clearance of HIV from the body nearly impossible.

In the past, most preventive HIV vaccine research has focused on T cell based approaches. The NIAID-sponsored vaccine development program concentrates on stimulating B cell production in order to neutralize many strains of HIV. NIAID is awarding B cell program grants to 10 investigators, each of whom has experience in immunology and HIV pathogenesis. 

More information is available:

Best Regimen for First-Line HIV Therapy in Adults

A recent study concluded that the first-line therapy for HIV infection of efavirenz plus two NRTIs is the most effective for viral control in adults.


The study examined 757 participants with similar CD4 counts and viral loads who were randomly assigned to receive either efavirenz plus two NRTIs, lopinavir/ritonavir plus two NRTIs, or efavirenz plus lopinavir/ritonavir (an NRTI-sparing regimen). Although all three regimens improved immunologic health, virologic failure was least likely in participants taking the efavirenz regimen, while the NRTI-sparing regimen was more likely to be associated with drug resistance at virologic failure.

More information is available: