New HIV Vaccine Combination Strategy Provides Better and More Durable Protection; Injections of HIV-Env Protein Elicit Neutralizing Antibodies; Injections of HIV-Gag Protein Elicit Cellular Immunity; Combination Found Effective & Durable

Researchers from the Emory Consortium for Innovative AIDS Research in Nonhuman Primates and their colleagues across North America have shown that a new HIV vaccine is better at preventing infection and lasts longer than others, continuing to protect one year after vaccination. The findings, which were published online on May 11, 2020 in Nature Medicine, provide important insights for preventing HIV, and the timeliness of the results could also help shape the scientific community's approach to developing vaccines for COVID-19. The open-access article is titled “T Cell-Inducing Vaccine Durably Prevents Mucosal SHIV Infection Even with Lower Neutralizing Antibody Titers.” According to the researchers, the key to the new vaccine's markedly improved protection from viral infection is an alliance between neutralizing antibodies and cellular immunity. "Most efforts to develop an HIV vaccine focus on activating the immune system to make antibodies that can inactivate the virus, so called ‘neutralizing antibodies,’" says Eric Hunter, PhD, Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at Emory, a researcher at the Emory Vaccine Center (EVC) ( and Yerkes National Primate Research Center (, and a Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar. "We designed our vaccine to also generate a strong cellular immune response that homed in on mucosal tissues so the two arms of the immune response could collaborate to give better protection," he continues. Dr. Hunter is one of five senior authors of this study. Two of his Emory colleagues are also senior authors: Rama Amara, PhD, Professor of Microbiology and Immunology at Emory and a researcher at Yerkes and the EVC; and Cynthia Derdeyn, PhD, Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at Emory and also an EVC and Yerkes researcher.
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