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Vaccine. 2011 Apr 12;29(17):3124-37. doi: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2011.02.051. Epub 2011 Mar 4.

Partial efficacy of a VSV-SIV/MVA-SIV vaccine regimen against oral SIV challenge in infant macaques.

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California National Primate Research Center, University of California, Davis, CA, USA.


Despite antiretroviral medications, the rate of pediatric HIV-1 infections through breast-milk transmission has been staggering in developing countries. Therefore, the development of a vaccine to protect vulnerable infant populations should be actively pursued. We previously demonstrated that oral immunization of newborn macaques with vesicular stomatitis virus expressing simian immunodeficiency virus genes (VSV-SIV) followed 2 weeks later by an intramuscular boost with modified vaccinia ankara virus expressing SIV (MVA-SIV) successfully induced SIV-specific T and B cell responses in multiple lymphoid tissues, including the tonsil and intestine [13]. In the current study, we tested the oral VSV-SIV prime/systemic MVA-SIV boost vaccine for efficacy against multiple oral SIVmac251 challenges starting two weeks after the booster vaccination. The vaccine did not prevent SIV infection. However, in vaccinated infants, the level of SIV-specific plasma IgA (but not IgG) at the time of challenge was inversely correlated with peak viremia. In addition, the levels of SIV-specific IgA in saliva and plasma were inversely correlated with viral load at euthanasia. Animals with tonsils that contained higher frequencies of SIV-specific TNF-α- or IFN-γ-producing CD8(+) T cells and central memory T cells at euthanasia also had lower viremia. Interestingly, a marked depletion of CD25(+)FoxP3(+)CD4(+) T cells was observed in the tonsils as well as the intestine of these animals, implying that T regulatory cells may be a major target of SIV infection in infant macaques. Overall, the data suggest that, in infant macaques orally infected with SIV, the co-induction of local antiviral cytotoxic T cells and T regulatory cells that promote the development of IgA responses may result in better control of viral replication. Thus, future vaccination efforts should be directed towards induction of IgA and mucosal T cell responses to prevent or reduce virus replication in infants.

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