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Antiviral Res. 2002 Jun;54(3):189-201.

Induction of neutralizing antibodies and cytotoxic T lymphocytes in Balb/c mice immunized with virus-like particles presenting a gp120 molecule from a HIV-1 isolate of clade A.

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Division of Viral Oncology and AIDS Reference Center, Ist. Naz. Tumori Fond. G. Pascale, Cappella dei Cangiani, 80131 Naples, Italy.


We have recently developed a candidate HIV-1 vaccine based on virus-like particles (VLPs) expressing a gp120 from an Ugandan HIV-1 isolate of the clade A (HIV-VLP(A)s). In vivo immunogenicity experiments were performed in Balb/c mice, with an immunization schedule based on a multiple-dose regimen of HIV-VLP(A)s without adjuvants, showing a significant induction of both humoral and cellular immunity. The Env-specific cellular response was investigated in vitro, scoring for both the proliferative response of T helper cells and the cytolytic activity of cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs). Furthermore, immune sera showed >50% neutralization activity against both the autologous field isolate and the heterologous T cell adapted B-clade HIV-1(IIIB) viral strain. This is one of the first examples of HIV-1 vaccines based on antigens derived from the A clade, which represents >25% of all isolates identified world wide. In particular, the A clade is predominant in sub-Saharan countries, where 70% of the global HIV-1 infections occur, and where vaccination is the only rational strategy for an affordable prevention against HIV-1 infection.

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