Keystone Symposia on functional cures and eradication of HIV

29 April 2019

Professor Lynn Morris, interim executive director of the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD), was a co-organizer of the recent Keystone Symposia on Functional Cures and Eradication of HIV held at the Whistler Resort in Canada from 24-28 March 2019.


 The meeting, which was held jointly with HIV vaccines (co-organized by the HPP’s Scientific Director, Prof Thumbi Ndung’u), included a number of sessions on the expanding role of broadly neutralizing antibodies in the treatment, prevention and cure of HIV.


 In her talk, Morris described the discovery and characterization of antibodies from the HIV-infected CAPRISA participant CAP228 that show potent Fc effector function and block binding to the a4b7 integrin. These antibodies are of interest as they are similar to antibodies found in RV144 vaccines that were associated with protection from HIV infection. Furthermore CAP228 antibodies were used to delineate a structural state of the V2 region that exposes the a4b7 binding site providing a plausible explanation for how such non-neutralizing antibodies might block HIV infection. Other topics at the meeting included new latency reversing agents, therapeutic vaccines and CAR-T cells.


 Dr. Charissa Mynhardt from the NICD (in the photo) presented a poster describing the isolation of monoclonal antibodies from South African recipients of the RV144 HIV vaccine. Remarkably she found that antibody lineages elicited by this vaccine showed some similarities to those seen in Thai RV144 volunteers suggesting that the immunogen plays a more defining role in the antibody response to vaccination than the host genetic background.

Photo: Prof Lynn Morris, Interim Executive Director NICD and CAPRISA Honorary Senior Scientist