New prospects for the development of a vaccine against human immunodeficiency virus type 1. An overview

C R Acad Sci III. 1999 Nov;322(11):959-66. doi: 10.1016/s0764-4469(00)87193-0.


During the past few years, definite progress has been made in the field of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) vaccines. Initial attempts using envelope gp120 or gp140 from T-cell line-adapted (TCLA) HIV-1 strains to vaccinate chimpanzees showed that neutralizing antibody-based immune responses were protective against challenge with homologous TCLA virus strains or strains with low replicative capacity, but these neutralizing antibodies remained inactive when tested on primary HIV-1 isolates, casting doubts on the efficacy of gp120-based vaccines in the natural setting. Development of a live attenuated simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) vaccine was undertaken in the macaque model using whole live SIV bearing multiple deletions in the nef, vpr and vpx genes. This vaccine provided remarkable protective efficacy against wild-type SIV challenge, but the deletion mutants remain pathogenic, notably in neonate monkeys. Study of the mechanisms of protection in the SIV model unravelled the importance of the T-cell responses, whether in the form of cytotoxic T-lymphocyte (CTL) killing activity, or in that of antiviral factor secretion of cytokines, beta-chemokines and other unidentified antiviral factors by CD8+ T-cells. Induction of such a response is being sought at this time using various live recombinant virus vaccines, either poxvirus or alphavirus vectors or DNA vectors, which can be combined together or with a gp120/gp140 boost in various prime-boost combination strategies. New vectors include attenuated vaccinia virus NYVAC, modified vaccinia strain Ankara (MVA), Semliki Forest virus, Venezuelan equine encephalitis virus, and Salmonellas. Recent DNA prime-poxvirus boost combination regimens have generated promising protection results against SIV or SIV/HIV (SHIV) challenge in macaque models. Emphasis is also put on the induction of a mucosal immune response, involving both a secretory IgA response and a mucosal CTL response which could constitute a 'first line of defence' in the vaccinated host. Finally, a totally novel vaccine approach based on the use of Tat or Tat and Rev antigens has been shown to induce efficient protection from challenge with pathogenic SIV or SHIV in vaccinated macaques. The only vaccine in phase 3 clinical trials in human volunteers is a gp120-based vaccine, AIDSVAX. A prime-boost combination of a recombinant canarypoxvirus and a subunit gp120 vaccine is in phase 2. Emphasis has been put recently on the necessity of testing prototype vaccines in developing countries using immunogens derived from local virus strains. Trial sites have thus been identified in Kenya, Uganda, Thailand and South Africa where phase I trials have begun or are expected to start presently.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • AIDS Vaccines*
  • Animals
  • Gene Products, rev / immunology
  • Gene Products, tat / immunology
  • Genetic Vectors
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Innate
  • Macaca
  • Mucous Membrane / immunology
  • Simian Immunodeficiency Virus
  • Vaccines, Synthetic


  • AIDS Vaccines
  • Gene Products, rev
  • Gene Products, tat
  • Vaccines, Synthetic