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Virus diversity and escape from immune responses are the biggest challenges to the development of an effective vaccine against HIV-1. We hypothesized that T-cell vaccines targeting the most conserved regions of the HIV-1 proteome, which are common to most variants and bear fitness costs when mutated, will generate effectors that efficiently recognize and kill virus-infected cells early enough after transmission to potentially impact on HIV-1 replication and will do so more efficiently than whole protein-based T-cell vaccines. Here, we describe the first-ever administration of conserved immunogen vaccines vectored using prime-boost regimens of DNA, simian adenovirus and modified vaccinia virus Ankara to uninfected UK volunteers. The vaccine induced high levels of effector T cells that recognized virus-infected autologous CD4 + cells and inhibited HIV-1 replication by up to 5.79 log 10. The virus inhibition was mediated by both Gag- and Pol- specific effector CD8 + T cells targeting epitopes that are typically subdominant in natural infection. These results provide proof of concept for using a vaccine to target T cells at conserved epitopes, showing that these T cells can control HIV-1 replication in vitro. © The American Society of Gene & Cell Therapy.

Original publication

DOI

10.1038/mt.2013.248

Type

Journal article

Journal

Molecular Therapy

Publication Date

01/01/2014

Volume

22

Pages

464 - 475