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Virology. 2001 Jul 5;285(2):204-17.

Protection from immunodeficiency virus challenges in rhesus macaques by multicomponent DNA immunization.

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Viral Genomix, Inc., Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104, USA.


Multicomponent DNA vaccines were used to elicit immune responses, which can impact viral challenge in three separate rhesus macaque models. Eight rhesus macaques were immunized with DNA vaccines for HIV env/rev and SIV gag/pol and were challenged intravenously with 10 animal infective doses (AID(50)) of cell-free SHIV IIIB. Three of eight immunized rhesus macaques were protected, exhibiting no detectable virus. Animals protected from nonpathogenic SHIVIIIB challenge were rested for extended periods of time and were rechallenged first with pathogenic SIV(mac239) and subsequently with pathogenic SHIV89.6P viruses. Following the pathogenic challenges, all three vaccinated animals were negative for viral coculture and antigenemia and were negative by PCR. In contrast, the control animals exhibited antigenemia by 2 weeks postchallenge and exhibited greater than 10 logs of virus/10(6) cells in limiting dilution coculture. The control animals exhibited CD4 cell loss and developed SIV-related wasting with high viral burden and subsequently failed to thrive. Vaccinated animals remained virus-negative and were protected from the viral load, CD4 loss, disease, and death. We observed strong Th1-type cellular immune responses in the protected macaques throughout the study, suggesting their important roles in protection. These studies support the finding that multicomponent DNA vaccines can directly impact viral replication and disease in a highly pathogenic challenge system, thus potentially broadening our strategies against HIV.

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