HIV is an incredibly mutable disease, but scientists have recently isolated an antibody produced in the body of an African American gay male, known as Donor 45, that neutralizes 91% of HIV strains. HIV antibodies have been isolated in the past, but never before has one been found that neutralizes so many strains of the virus. The antibody works by adhering to the virus and preventing it from binding to receptors on white blood cells. Donor 45 doesn't appear to be genetically unique in any way, which gives scientists hope that anyone could be capable of producing this same antibody.
This new discovery is being touted as the beginning of a renaissance of HIV/AIDS research. Scientists hope to test the antibody as a method of preventing the virus in the form of a vaccine, as well as a microbicide, and as a supplement to current ARV (anti-retroviral) cocktails.