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AIDS protein engineered.

AIDS protein engineered

National Institutes of Health researchers in Bethesda, Md., have coaxed vaccinia virus, used in smallpox vaccinations, to produce an AIDS virus protein. The feat will allow them to analyze the protein's vaccine potential.

The AIDS virus gene that codes for the viru's protein envelope was inserted into the vaccinia virus by a technique that is already being used to produce proteins from other pathogens (see p. 232 and SN: 6/15/85, p. 379). "What we've done is to make a recombinant virus that expresses the protein," says Bernard Moss, one of the researchers. "Now we can ask questions that may be pertinent to making a vaccine."

Mice inoculated with the recombinant virus produced antibodies to the AIDS protein, the scientists report in the April 10 NATURE. But further work is needed to determine whether it can be used as a vaccine, Moss notes. Among the questions are whether it will raise antibodies in primate systems as well, whether those antibodies are capable of neutralizing the virus and whether the antibodies will be effective against different strains of the virus. The recombinant virus would not help people with AIDS, he notes, because their immune systems are already damanged.
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Publication:Science News
Date:Apr 12, 1986
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