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Vaccine. 2012 Jun 8;30(27):4046-54. doi: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2012.04.007. Epub 2012 Apr 28.

Indicators of therapeutic effect in FIT-06, a Phase II trial of a DNA vaccine, GTU(®)-Multi-HIVB, in untreated HIV-1 infected subjects.

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Lancet Laboratories, Richmond, Johannesburg, South Africa.



Combination highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) has significantly decreased HIV-1 related morbidity and mortality globally transforming HIV into a controllable condition. HAART has a number of limitations though, including limited access in resource constrained countries, which have driven the search for simpler, affordable HIV-1 treatment modalities. Therapeutic HIV-1 vaccines aim to provide immunological support to slow disease progression and decrease transmission. We evaluated the safety, immunogenicity and clinical effect of a novel recombinant plasmid DNA therapeutic HIV-1 vaccine, GTU(®)-multi-HIVB, containing 6 different genes derived from an HIV-1 subtype B isolate.


63 untreated, healthy, HIV-1 infected, adults between 18 and 40 years were enrolled in a single-blinded, placebo-controlled Phase II trial in South Africa. Subjects were HIV-1 subtype C infected, had never received antiretrovirals, with CD4 ≥ 350 cells/mm(3) and pHIV-RNA ≥ 50 copies/mL at screening. Subjects were allocated to vaccine or placebo groups in a 2:1 ratio either administered intradermally (ID) (0.5mg/dose) or intramuscularly (IM) (1mg/dose) at 0, 4 and 12 weeks boosted at 76 and 80 weeks with 1mg/dose (ID) and 2mg/dose (IM), respectively. Safety was assessed by adverse event monitoring and immunogenicity by HIV-1-specific CD4+ and CD8+ T-cells using intracellular cytokine staining (ICS), pHIV-RNA and CD4 counts.


Vaccine was safe and well tolerated with no vaccine related serious adverse events. Significant declines in log pHIV-RNA (p=0.012) and increases in CD4+ T cell counts (p=0.066) were observed in the vaccine group compared to placebo, more pronounced after IM administration and in some HLA haplotypes (B*5703) maintained for 17 months after the final immunisation.


The GTU(®)-multi-HIVB plasmid recombinant DNA therapeutic HIV-1 vaccine is safe, well tolerated and favourably affects pHIV-RNA and CD4 counts in untreated HIV-1 infected individuals after IM administration in subjects with HLA B*57, B*8101 and B*5801 haplotypes.

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