New insights into vaccination for HIV

January 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: Vaccines aren't enough – working on a way to stop the polio virus for good

Related Stories

Vaccines aren't enough – working on a way to stop the polio virus for good

December 7, 2017
There were just 74 cases of polio reported worldwide in 2015. Thanks to a global vaccination drive, this crippling disease, which once affected hundreds of thousands of people a year, is now on the verge of extinction. The ...

New strategy to disarm the dengue virus brings new hope for a universal dengue vaccine

August 13, 2013
A new strategy that cripples the ability of the dengue virus to escape the host immune system has been discovered by A*STAR's Singapore Immunology Network (SIgN). This breakthrough strategy opens a door of hope to what may ...

Divides emerge in US, world response to mutant flu

February 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 ...

Blocking Ebola virus budding by regulating calcium signaling

October 30, 2015
The Ebola virus acts fast. The course of infection, from exposure to recovery, or death, can take as little as two weeks. That may not leave enough time for the immune system to mount an effective response.

A viral protein that helps EBV-infected B cells to escape human killer T cells

June 11, 2015
About 90% of adults worldwide are infected with Epstein-Barr virus, or EBV. The virus infects B cells (the white blood cells that make antibodies) and can contribute to B-cell-derived cancers, but in most people it remains ...

Scientists train immune system to spot and destroy cure-defying mutant HIV

January 7, 2015
Luring dormant HIV out of hiding and destroying its last cure-defying holdouts has become the holy grail of HIV eradication, but several recent attempts to do so have failed. Now the findings of a Johns Hopkins-led study ...

Recommended for you

Researchers find latent HIV reservoirs inherently resistant to elimination by CD8+ T-cells

January 22, 2018
The latest "kick-and-kill" research to eliminate the HIV virus uncovered a potential obstacle in finding a cure. A recent study by researchers at the George Washington University (GW) found that latent HIV reservoirs show ...

HIV-1 genetic diversity is higher in vaginal tract than in blood during early infection

January 18, 2018
A first-of-its-kind study has found that the genetic diversity of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) is higher in the vaginal tract than in the blood stream during early infection. This finding, published in PLOS ...

War in Ukraine has escalated HIV spread in the country: study

January 15, 2018
Conflict in Ukraine has increased the risk of HIV outbreaks throughout the country as displaced HIV-infected people move from war-affected regions to areas with higher risk of transmission, according to analysis by scientists.

Researchers offer new model for uncovering true HIV mortality rates in Zambia

January 12, 2018
A new study that seeks to better ascertain HIV mortality rates in Zambia could provide a model for improved national and regional surveillance approaches, and ultimately, more effective HIV treatment strategies.

New drug capsule may allow weekly HIV treatment

January 9, 2018
Researchers at MIT and Brigham and Women's Hospital have developed a capsule that can deliver a week's worth of HIV drugs in a single dose. This advance could make it much easier for patients to adhere to the strict schedule ...

New long-acting, less-toxic HIV drug suppresses virus in humanized mice

January 8, 2018
A team of Yale researchers tested a new chemical compound that suppresses HIV, protects immune cells, and remains effective for weeks with a single dose. In animal experiments, the compound proved to be a promising new candidate ...

0 comments

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.