Innovations in Biotechnology and Medical Sciences

N332-GT5 and eOD-GT8: Advancements in HIV Vaccine Development


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: N332-GT5, eOD-GT8, HIV-AIDS

Why in the News?

Researchers at the Duke Human Vaccine Institute have successfully induced broadly neutralising antibodies (bNAbs) against HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) through vaccination for the first time.


  • Emergence: The first cases of AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome) were reported in the early 1980s, primarily among gay men in the United States.
  • Discovery of HIV: In 1983-1984, scientists identified HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) as the cause of AIDS.
  • Global Spread: HIV/AIDS quickly became a global pandemic, affecting millions of people worldwide.


  • HIV is transmitted through contact with certain body fluids of an infected person, including blood, semen, vaginal fluids, and breast milk.
  • Common modes of HIV transmission include unprotected sexual intercourse, sharing needles or syringes, and from mother to child during pregnancy, childbirth, or breastfeeding.


  • Acute HIV Infection: Many people experience flu-like symptoms, such as fever, headache, fatigue, and swollen lymph nodes, within 2-4 weeks after infection.
  • Asymptomatic Stage: After the initial symptoms subside, HIV often enters a latent stage where individuals may not experience any symptoms for years.
  • Progression to AIDS: Without treatment, HIV gradually weakens the immune system, leading to the development of opportunistic infections and cancers. This advanced stage is known as AIDS and is characterized by severe immune deficiency.

Vaccines Development:

  • Challenges: Developing an HIV vaccine has been challenging due to the virus’s ability to mutate rapidly and evade the immune system.
  • Vaccine Candidates: Numerous vaccine candidates have been tested over the years, but none have yet been successful in providing robust protection against HIV infection.
  • Hope for the Future: Despite setbacks, advances in vaccine development, such as the identification of promising candidates like N332-GT5 and eOD-GT8, offer hope for eventually achieving an effective HIV vaccine.

How B cells and mRNA play distinct roles in the context of HIV infection?

1.    B cells (B lymphocytes):

  • B cells are a type of white blood cell crucial for the immune response.
  • In HIV infection, B cells participate in the adaptive immune response by producing antibodies specific to HIV antigens.
  • These antibodies can neutralize HIV particles, tag infected cells for destruction by other immune cells, and contribute to the immune memory against HIV.

2.    mRNA (messenger RNA):

  • mRNA is a molecule that carries genetic information from DNA to the ribosomes, where proteins are synthesized.
  • In the context of HIV, mRNA is involved in the replication process of the virus.
  • HIV uses its RNA genome to produce viral mRNA, which directs the synthesis of viral proteins necessary for the assembly of new virus particles.
  • Understanding HIV mRNA is crucial for developing antiviral therapies that target viral replication, such as mRNA-based vaccines or mRNA inhibitors.

N332-GT5 and eOD-GT8: The New Vaccines in Making

  • N332-GT5: This vaccine candidate targets a specific region on the surface of the HIV virus known as the N332 glycan site. By engaging B-cells that have the potential to produce bNAbs against this site, N332-GT5 aims to stimulate the immune system to generate a protective response against a wide range of HIV strains.
  • eOD-GT8: Similarly, eOD-GT8 is designed to target another region on the HIV virus, known as the eOD protein. By leveraging nanoparticles as carriers, eOD-GT8 aims to enhance the immune system’s ability to recognize and neutralize HIV, ultimately leading to the production of bNAbs.

What are Broadly Neutralizing Antibodies (bNAbs)?

  • In the 1990s, scientists discovered that some HIV-infected individuals produced bNAbs, which neutralize many viral strains.
  • bNAbs target viral protein areas crucial for infectivity, making them less likely to change.
  • Despite their effectiveness, bNAbs take years to develop, by which time HIV has often evolved to escape them.

Developing bNAb-Based Vaccines

  • The goal is to make the immune system produce bNAbs quickly in response to a vaccine.
  • Germline targeting involves three steps:
    1. Identify and engage B-cells capable of producing bNAbs.
    2. Use a booster to guide these cells to produce stronger bNAbs.
    3. Refine bNAbs to neutralize a wide range of HIV strains.


[2013] Which of the following diseases can be transmitted from one person to another through tattooing?

1. Chikungunya

2. Hepatitis B


Select the correct answer using the codes given below.

(a) 1 only

(b) 2 and 3 only

(c) 1 and 3 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3

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