The need for an effective vaccine to prevent the global spread of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) is well recognized. Passive immunization and challenge studies in non-human primates testify that broadly neutralizing antibodies (BrNAbs) can accomplish protection against infection. In recent years, the introduction of new techniques has facilitated the discovery of an unprecedented number of new human BrNAbs that target and delineate diverse conserved epitopes on the envelope glycoprotein spike (Env). The epitopes of these BrNAbs can serve as templates for immunogen design aimed to induce similar antibodies. Here we will review the characteristics of the different classes of BrNAbs and their target epitopes, as well as factors associated with their development and implications for vaccine design.
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