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Expert Rev Vaccines. 2004 Aug;3(4 Suppl):S5-32.

The roles of nonhuman primates in the preclinical evaluation of candidate AIDS vaccines.

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  • 1Departments of Medicine and Microbiology and Immunology, Emory Vaccine Center, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, Georgia 30329, USA.


Preclinical studies in nonhuman primates (NHP) play key roles in AIDS vaccine development efforts. In addition to their traditional utilization to gauge vaccine safety and immunogenicity, NHP models are currently employed to an unprecedented extent and in unprecedented ways in contemporary basic and applied vaccine development efforts. Current studies employ NHP models to probe fundamental mechanisms of primate immune system regulation, to investigate pathogenic mechanisms of AIDS, and to optimize immunization strategies involving novel vaccine vectors. The use of experimental challenges of immunized NHPs with either simian immunodeficiency virus or chimeric simian/human immunodeficiency virus to generate preclinical vaccine efficacy data has emerged as an important criterion for facilitating entry of a given vaccine candidate into early phase clinical evaluation in humans. However, for studies of the biology of AIDS virus transmission, AIDS virus disease pathogenesis and AIDS virus vaccine efficacy that are predicated on experimental viral challenge to be most valuable, additional efforts need to be devoted to generating challenge models that more closely recapitulate HIV-1 infection in humans. Towards this end, improved communication between clinical and preclinical investigators, to promote a bidirectional flow of information focusing on individual research needs and shared goals should enable the NHP models to most effectively expedite progress toward the development of a safe and effective AIDS vaccine.

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