The medical field has taken a huge step forward in the long drawn-out fight against HIV, with scientist having created a new antibody that is reported as being able to attack 99% of the virus's strains.

The new antibody works by targeting the three critical parts of the virus, thereby making it extremely difficult for the pathogen to put up any sort of resistance to its effects.

Testing to begin on humans soon

Trials on humans are due to begin next year, and there are hopes that this new discovery will be able to prevent transmission, as well as go a long way in the eradication of HIV.

The research project was undertaken by #Scientists from the US National Institutes of Health, who worked alongside pharmaceutical company Sanofi.

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The results have been described as an 'exciting #Breakthrough' by all involved.

It is believed that HIV is difficult to combat due to its ability to mutate and change its appearance and gives off similar symptoms to the flu when the body attempts to fight against it.

Eventually, the different strains of the virus simply take over the entire body.

Breakthrough

Very few patients have the ability to produce what is referred to as 'broadly neutralising antibodies' that attach themselves to the characteristic spikes on the virus.

Said spikes are one of the very rare parts of the microbe that don't change and are present on the many strains.

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This means that the antibodies will be able to attack almost all strains of HIV, no matter what the appearance may be.

Scientists have been able to get three such flexible antibodies to coalesce, resulting in a 'tri-specific antibody'.

They ran tests on 24 monkeys, injecting all of the primates with HIV and then analysing them to observe whether or not they contracted the disease following a dosage of the antibody. None of the monkeys were found to have contracted HIV.

Most potent thus far

Chief scientific officer at Sanofi, Dr Gary Nabel, along with one of the report authors told the BBC that the new antibodies are way stronger, and cast a wider net, than any other naturally-occurring antibody that has been discovered so far.

The research was also undertaken by scientists at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard Medical School and the Scripps Research Institute.

HIV has plagued people from all over the world for many years and affects well over 35 million people across the globe. In 2013, there were over 100,000 reported cases in the UK alone.

There is currently no cure for the sexually transmitted disease, but perhaps this recent breakthrough could lead to one in future.