The Wall Street Journal reported July 9, 2010, that there's been an Advance in Quest for HIV Vaccine. Although it may take years to develop a vaccine, finding antibodies to the set of HIV viruses that cause AIDS is a gigantic step forward.
NOTE: This has been diaried before, here and here, but I think it's important enough news to diary again so that more people will see it. The announcement is not for a cure for AIDS, nor is it a vaccine. Yet. It's just a big advance in the field.
HIV/AIDS is a tough virus to immunise against or kill once it's in the body. Most antibodies don't work on all strains of HIV - the virus is very mutable, which means it changes a lot (the flu is another highly mutable virus). In fact, most antibodies only work on a couple of strains. The antibodies found in the Vaccine Research Center at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases study work on more than 90% of HIV strains. These newly found antibodies bind to a different place on the HIV virion than other antibodies, allowing them to neutralise many more HIV strains. Previous antibodies have worked on, at best, about 40% of HIV types.
Science magazine has the abstract online for free. The full article is behind a paywall.
Make no mistake - this is not a solution for any of the problems associated with HIV. It doesn't solve transmissibility. It doesn't cure those infected with HIV and it doesn't help AIDS patients or people living with HIV. It doesn't prevent infection with HIV. It does, however, provide hope for future improvements in dealing with the AIDS epidemic.