|Antibody binding HIV. Peter Kwong, NIH|
Antibodies are produced against cell surface proteins, the portions of the infecting agent visible to immune cells. The problem thus far with HIV is the broad range of cell surface proteins expressed by the various strains currently infecting the human population, as well as the potential mutations to come. However, broadly neutralizing antibodies, though rare, have been identified in the blood of HIV-infected patients. They bind and affect portions of the cell surface that remain relatively constant among HIV strains.
Read more about the challenges and promise of broadly neutralizing antibodies in HIV vaccine development.