Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), the etiologic agent that causes AIDS, is the fourth largest killer in the world today. Despite the remarkable achievements in development of anti-retroviral therapies against HIV, and the recent advances in new prevention technologies, the rate of new HIV infections continue to outpace efforts on HIV prevention and control. Thus, the development of a safe and effective vaccine for prevention and control of AIDS remains a global public health priority and the greatest opportunity to eventually end the AIDS pandemic. Currently, there is a renaissance in HIV vaccine development, due in large part to the first demonstration of vaccine induced protection, albeit modest, in human efficacy trials, a generation of improved vaccine candidates advancing in the clinical pipeline, and newly defined targets on HIV for broadly neutralizing antibodies. The main barriers to HIV vaccine development include the global variability of HIV, lack of a validated animal model, lack of correlates of protective immunity, lack of natural protective immune responses against HIV, and the reservoir of infected cells conferred by integration of HIV's genome into the host. Some of these barriers are not unique to HIV, but generic to other variable viral pathogens such as hepatitis C and pandemic influenza. Recommendations to overcome these barriers are presented in this document, including but not limited to expansion of efforts to design immunogens capable of eliciting broadly neutralizing antibodies against HIV, expansion of clinical research capabilities to assess multiple immunogens concurrently with comprehensive immune monitoring, increased support for translational vaccine research, and engaging industry as full partners in vaccine discovery and development.
Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.