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Mol Ther. 2011 Feb;19(2):417-26. doi: 10.1038/mt.2010.238. Epub 2010 Nov 16.

Vaccine-induced T cells provide partial protection against high-dose rectal SIVmac239 challenge of rhesus macaques.

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The Wistar Institute, Philadelphia, PA, USA.


Despite enormous efforts by the scientific community, an effective HIV vaccine remains elusive. To further address to what degree T cells in absence of antibodies may protect against simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) disease progression, rhesus macaques were vaccinated intramuscularly with a chimpanzee-derived Ad vector (AdC) serotype 6 and then boosted intramuscularly with a serologically distinct AdC vector of serotype 7 both expressing Gag of SIVmac239. Animals were subsequently boosted intramuscularly with a modified vaccinia Ankara (MVA) virus expressing Gag and Tat of the homologous SIV before mucosal challenge with a high dose of SIVmac239 given rectally. Whereas vaccinated animals showed only a modest reduction of viral loads, their overall survival was improved, in association with a substantial protection from the loss of CD4(+) T cells. In addition, the two vaccinated Mamu-A*01(+) macaques controlled viral loads to levels below detection within weeks after challenge. These data strongly suggest that T cells, while unable to affect SIV acquisition upon high-dose rectal infection, can reduce disease progression. Induction of potent T-cell responses should thus remain a component of our efforts to develop an efficacious vaccine to HIV-1.

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