New insights into vaccination for HIV

Jan 25, 2008

A group of Australian researchers at the Universities of Melbourne and New South Wales have developed new tools and paradigms to understand immune evasion from HIV. The study, published Friday, January 25 in PLoS Pathogens, shows that both prior vaccination and timing influence the rates of immune escape, providing further insight into the effectiveness of T cell immunity to HIV.

An HIV vaccine is urgently needed. A major hurdle is the rapid evolution of HIV and its ability to mutate to escape effective immunity. Low levels of mutant virus cannot be detected with standard techniques, making it difficult to study the evolution of mutant viruses.

The group, led by PhD student Liyen Loh and Dr. Stephen Kent, developed highly sensitive assays to track mutant viruses. They show that vaccination of macaques against SIV (a simian AIDS virus) results in the rapid selection of mutant viruses. In contrast, escape mutants evolve much more slowly when they appear later during infection.

Mutant viruses, however, result in some “fitness” cost and they revert back when transmitted to a new host. Reversion of mutant viruses also follows the same principles – rapid during acute infection and slower during chronic infection. These insights suggest new ways to improve HIV vaccines.

Citation: Loh L, Petravic J, Batten CJ, Davenport MP, Kent SJ (2008) Vaccination and timing influence SIV immune escape viral dynamics in vivo. PLoS Pathog 4(1): e12. doi:10.1371/journal.ppat.0040012

Source: Public Library of Science

Explore further: Indiana HIV outbreak, hepatitis C epidemic sparks US alert

Related Stories

Researchers use microRNA to trap mutant viruses in the lab

Aug 12, 2013

(Phys.org) —It's a scenario straight out of a sci-fi horror flick. Scientists take a deadly virus that people can only catch from birds and genetically engineer it so we can give it to each other. Unfortunately, ...

Divides emerge in US, world response to mutant flu

Feb 29, 2012

A divide has emerged between the United States and the rest of the world on whether to publish or keep secret the details of an engineered mutant bird flu virus that can pass in the air between animals, health experts said ...

Recommended for you

Indiana HIV outbreak, hepatitis C epidemic sparks US alert

Apr 24, 2015

Federal health officials helping to contain an HIV outbreak in Indiana state issued an alert to health departments across the U.S. on Friday, urging them to take steps to identify and track HIV and hepatitis C cases in an ...

Why are HIV survival rates lower in the Deep South than the rest of the US?

Apr 22, 2015

The Deep South region has become the epicenter of the US HIV epidemic. Despite having only 28% of the total US population, nine states in the Deep South account for nearly 40% of national HIV diagnoses. This region has the highest HIV diagnosis rates and the highest number of people living with HIV of any ...

A bad buzz: Men with HIV need fewer drinks to feel effects

Apr 20, 2015

Researchers at Yale and the VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System compared the number of drinks that men with HIV infection, versus those without it, needed to get a buzz. They found that HIV-infected men were more sensitive to ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.