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A Theoretical Approach to an HIV Vaccine Targeting CCR5

Project by Polygence alum Arundhathi

A Theoretical Approach to an HIV Vaccine Targeting CCR5

Project's result

Research paper proposing a new vaccine strategy for prevention and treatment of HIV, and turning this paper into a research talk that will be given at the Symposium of Rising Scholars

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One of the world’s biggest issues is the spread of bloodborne pathogens. One of such pathogens is the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). HIV weakens the immune system, making it more difficult for patients to fight off infections. CCR5 is a co-receptor found on the surface of many immune cells in the body. While its function is not fully characterized, it is frequently implicated in HIV infection, and is required for HIV to infect CD4+ T-cells. In this paper, we investigated the potential for developing a vaccine against the CCR5 co-receptor so that our immune system can produce antibodies against the receptor and block it so that HIV would be unable to penetrate T-cells. Additionally, we discussed the potential side effects of blocking the CCR5 co-receptor, we described the type of vaccine required to generate such an antibody response, and we evaluated the potential efficacy of such a vaccine in both preventing HIV transmission and potentially curing individuals living with HIV. Finally, we compare this approach to some current medications for HIV and discuss multiple studies that have explored similar CCR5-blocking approaches.



Polygence mentor

MD/PhD Doctor of Medicine and of Philosophy candidate


Computer Science, Biology


computational biology, genomics, synthetic biology, analyzing public biological datasets




Graduation Year


Project review

“At the beginning, I only had great expectations of this program, because of all the videos I had watched, and how my cousin had a great journey through Polygence. All in all, it was an amazing experience and I had this same perception from the start!”

About my mentor

“My mentor was helpful in guiding me through the process of completing the project as he was always willing to answer any question I had, as well as providing me helpful resources and links that would be good sources of information to my paper. He was also able to give me good feedback, such as important sections to add into the paper, as well as recommending me to create my own diagrams and charts to implement into the paper. Overall, Nico is a very fun person to talk and work with!”