Research ArticleInfectious Disease

JC polyomavirus mutants escape antibody-mediated neutralization

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Science Translational Medicine  23 Sep 2015:
Vol. 7, Issue 306, pp. 306ra151
DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aab1720

Opportunity knocks for JC polyomavirus therapy

JC polyomavirus (JCV) can be found in the urinary tract in most adults, resulting in a persistent but asymptomatic infection. However, in immunocompromised individuals, JCV opportunistically infects the brain, resulting in the debilitating and frequently fatal disease progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML). No treatments are currently available for PML, but two papers now identify and exploit a gap in the immune response to JCV. Ray et al. report that JCV strains found in the cerebrospinal fluid of PML patients have mutations that prevent antibody neutralization and that these blind spots can be overcome with vaccination. Jelcic et al. suggest that broadly neutralizing antibodies derived from a patient who recovered from PML may fill this gap.

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