Progress in the understanding of AIDS immunology
May 13, 2011 2:05 PM   Subscribe

In a recent paper published in Nature Hansen et al. show the efficacy of their unusual vaccine strategy against SIVMAC239 in rhesus macaques. While the goal is not necessarily to produce a human vaccine against HIV using this exact strategy, this paper is now reigniting the debate over the progression of HIV infections and the mechanism(s) by which the virus skirts the human immune system.
posted by Blasdelb (4 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
So it's a non-breakthrough breakthrough, or a non-breakthrough non-breakthrough?
posted by orthogonality at 2:14 PM on May 13, 2011

As always if anyone wants a PDF of the paper feel free to MeMail me with an email address I can send it to For the purpose of the academic discussion we are currently having of course
posted by Blasdelb at 2:17 PM on May 13, 2011

I wonder how much more (*) we'd have to pay for accounts here in order to get Metafilter subscribed to a few key journal servers.

(*) Way, way too much.
posted by waterunderground at 2:57 PM on May 13, 2011 [1 favorite]

I work in a lab that is currently doing similar research. We've done studies with SIVmac239 and SIVmac251 that show protection is conferred to pathogenically-challenged macaques from live-attenuated virus vaccines, as opposed to the prime-boost vaccine with RhCMV talked about in this study. We've found similar results for levels of protection from our work, I think the main thing right now that everyone working with SIV vaccines is trying to do, is identify the correlates of protection so we can look at moving them to human clinical trials.
Another thing to consider is that the SIV and HIV lentiviruses have an error-prone reverse transcriptase, coupled with a fast replication cycle, which together account for the intense genetic variability of the virus. These factors account for numerous unique clades that can be attributed to the three main types of HIV. As pointed out in this International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) report,
"The genetic variation of HIV in a single infected individual is about the same as the yearly genetic variation of influenza within the entire human population."
So, there is the possibility that a vaccine created from any of the strategies currently being pursued won't confer protection to every strain of HIV/SIV. Not only that, but the most successful vaccines right now are all correlated to a robust early immune response, so pathogenically infected individuals have no recourse to protection.
posted by Demogorgon at 3:30 PM on May 13, 2011 [3 favorites]

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