A brief history of the global effort to develop a preventive HIV vaccine

Vaccine. 2013 Aug 2;31(35):3502-18. doi: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2013.05.018. Epub 2013 May 21.


Soon after HIV was discovered as the cause of AIDS in 1983-1984, there was an expectation that a preventive vaccine would be rapidly developed. In trying to achieve that goal, three successive scientific paradigms have been explored: induction of neutralizing antibodies, induction of cell mediated immunity, and exploration of combination approaches and novel concepts. Although major progress has been made in understanding the scientific basis for HIV vaccine development, efficacy trials have been critical in moving the field forward. In 2009, the field was reinvigorated with the modest results obtained from the RV144 trial conducted in Thailand. Here, we review those vaccine development efforts, with an emphasis on events that occurred during the earlier years. The goal is to provide younger generations of scientists with information and inspiration to continue the search for an HIV vaccine.

Keywords: AIDS; Global effort; HIV; History; Vaccines.

Publication types

  • Historical Article
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • AIDS Vaccines / immunology*
  • AIDS Vaccines / therapeutic use
  • Antibodies, Neutralizing / immunology
  • Biomedical Research
  • Drug Discovery
  • HIV Antibodies / immunology
  • HIV Infections / immunology*
  • HIV Infections / prevention & control*
  • History, 20th Century
  • History, 21st Century
  • Humans
  • Vaccines, Attenuated / immunology


  • AIDS Vaccines
  • Antibodies, Neutralizing
  • HIV Antibodies
  • Vaccines, Attenuated