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Being Alive
MEDICAL UPDATE: Impact of Higher Antibody Levels
Mark Katz MD and reported by Jim Stoecker
May 5, 1993
Being Alive 1993 May 5: 9

We have reported in the past about the various anti-HIV vaccines that are being studied. These vaccines are seen as possible immune boosters for people already infected with HIV. This is because the vaccine raises HIV antibody levels, and researchers believe that higher antibody levels may forestall the advance of HIV disease by stimulating the body's own ability to fight the virus. To date, however, we have no proof that higher antibody levels means prolonged survival.

A recent study published in the Journal of Infectious Diseases provides a possible answer. Researchers at the National Cancer Institute measured the antibody levels of over 200 HIV+ children whose immune systems were reasonably intact. They found that the presence of higher levels of antibody correlated with fewer negative clinical outcomes and with better response to antiviral therapy.

All this implies that higher antibody levels may indeed be important in surviving HIV. This makes the prospect of a vaccine that works even more exciting and its development even more crucial.