Viral inhibition assay: a CD8 T cell neutralization assay for use in clinical trials of HIV-1 vaccine candidates

J Infect Dis. 2010 Mar;201(5):720-9. doi: 10.1086/650492.


We have characterized an assay measuring CD8 T cell-mediated inhibition of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) type 1 replication, demonstrating specificity and reproducibility and employing a panel of primary HIV-1 isolates. The assay uses relatively simple autologous cell culture and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, avoids generation of T cell clones, and can be performed with <2 million peripheral blood mononuclear cells. Efficient CD8 T cell-mediated cross-clade inhibition of HIV-1 replication in vitro was demonstrated in antiretroviral therapy-naive HIV-1-infected subjects with controlled viral replication in vivo but not in viremic subjects. An HIV-1 vaccine candidate, consisting of DNA and recombinant adenovirus 5 vectors tested in a phase I clinical trial, induced CD8 T cells that efficiently inhibited HIV-1 in a HLA-I-dependent manner. Assessment of direct antiviral T cell function by this assay provides additional information to guide vaccine design and the prioritizing of candidates for further clinical trials.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • AIDS Vaccines / genetics
  • AIDS Vaccines / immunology*
  • Adenoviruses, Human / genetics
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay / methods
  • Female
  • Genetic Vectors
  • HIV-1 / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neutralization Tests / methods*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Virus Replication / immunology


  • AIDS Vaccines