Professor Penny Moore of Wits University says the huge diversity of HIV strains has been hampering scientists' efforts to develop an Aids vaccine.
Her statement comes after a PhD student from Wits, Jinal Bhiman, on Sunday published a study that has significant implications for the development of an Aids vaccine.
The study describes how the changing viral load in an HIV infected person can promote a generation of anti-bodies that can neutralise a wide-range of HIV strains.
Professor Moore has described Bhiman's study as fascinating.
“What Jinal shows is that as the virus changes its coat, the anti-bodies that the immune system is making learn to recognise all these different variants of the virus by exposing all these different anti-bodies in the immune system to a huge range of diversity of the virus in one infected person.
You're teaching the immune system to try to tolerate this diversity and that's how broadly neutralising anti-bodies develop.”