A Chance to Save Lives

Mosaic proteins hold the promise of becoming the first viable vaccine to protect people from the virus that causes AIDS.

Bette Korber of the Los Alamos Theoretical Biology and Biophysics group types a command on her computer and brings up a graph replete with more than a dozen sets of vertical lines.

"This is what caught everyone's attention," she says softly, pointing to a set of multicolored lines strikingly longer than the others. "It shows that in rhesus monkeys, at least, the artificial mosaic proteins elicit a significantly broader immune response than natural proteins. As a vaccine they should offer greater protection against rapidly evolving viruses like HIV."

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