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New Imaging Method Reveals HIV's Sugary Shield in Unprecedented Detail

Phys.org

Photo: Zachary Berndsen, Ph.D., Ward lab at Scripps Research

Phys.org

Scientists from Scripps Research and Los Alamos National Laboratory have devised a method for mapping in unprecedented detail the thickets of slippery sugar molecules that help shield HIV from the immune system.

Mapping these shields will give researchers a more complete understanding of why antibodies react to some spots on the virus but not others and may shape the design of new vaccines that target the most vulnerable and accessible sites on HIV and other viruses.

The sugar molecules, or "glycans," are loose and stringy, and function as ...