New prime-boost HIV vaccine strategy shows promise in monkeys

ter vaccination and then infected all the macaques with a high dose of SHIV. "Most other studies challenge after several weeks," says Dr. Moss, "but a vaccine that only protects for a short time is not very helpful. We extended the post-vaccination time to check long-term efficacy." Dr. Moss also stresses another important feature of their vaccine strategy: the monkeys were infected by applying the virus in the rectum. "The majority of HIV infections occur when the virus crosses mucous membranes, so we needed to see if our vaccine would work against this route of infection."

Although all 28 monkeys were infected, the vaccinated monkeys showed lower initial SHIV levels and quickly began to suppress the virus further. Twenty weeks after infection, the amount of virus in the bloodstream of the vaccinated monkeys was on average 2,000 times lower than controls. The researchers continue to monitor virus levels in these animals.

"These are among the very best outcomes we have seen in an animal model," says Peggy Johnston, Ph.D., NIAID's assistant director for HIV vaccines, "and we are using NIH's developmental resources and the HIV Vaccine Trials Network (HVTN) to move these and other promising vaccines into human trials in the United States and elsewhere as quickly as possible."

Both teams have already constructed HIV versions of the DNA and MVA vaccines, and human clinical trials are currently planned for the coming year. The rapid progress of these products and their future entry into clinical trials is being supported by NIAID through a range of programs put into place to fast-track HIV vaccines through the various stages of basic and preclinical research, product development and production, and clinical trials.


Contact: Gregory Roa
NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

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