Where's The Beef Today?
Creative Commons - U.S.D.A. Agriculture
Agricultural Press Release - Cows are leaving the pasture and entering the field of HIV vaccine research. Devin Sok of the Scripps Institute and Waithaka Mwangi of Texas A&M University discovered how to produce powerful, HIV-blocking antibodies in cows in a matter of weeks – a process that usually takes years in humans. These unexpected findings illuminate new pathways for HIV vaccine research.
"One approach to a preventive HIV vaccine involves trying to elicit broadly neutralizing antibodies in healthy people, but so far the experiments have been unsuccessful, in both human and animal studies," said Sok, the study's first author. "This experiment demonstrates that not only is it possible to produce these antibodies in animals, but we can do so reliably, quickly, and using a relatively simple immunization strategy when given in the right setting."
The cows’ ability to quickly produce antibodies against a complicated pathogen like HIV highlights even broader significance, particularly for emerging pathogens.
The research was funded by NIFA's Agriculture and Food Research Initiative.
Read about cattle antibodies and HIV research. Image provided by Peggy Greb, USDA.