We investigated the potential of inducing additional T-cell immunity during chronic HIV-1 infection directed to subdominant HIV-1 epitopes from common HLA-supertypes. Ten treatment-naïve HIV-1-infected individuals were immunized with peptides in the adjuvant CAF01. One individual received placebo. T-cell immunogenicity was examined longitudinally by a flow cytometry (CD107a, IFNγ, TNFα, IL-2 and/or MIP1β expression) as well as IFNγ ELISPOT. Safety was evaluated by clinical follow up combined with monitoring of biochemistry, hematology, CD4 T-cell counts and viral load. New CD4 and CD8 T-cell responses specific for one or more vaccine epitopes were induced in 10/10 vaccinees. The responses were dominated by CD107a and MIP1β expression. There were no significant changes in HIV-1 viral load or CD4 T-cell counts. Our study demonstrates that the peptide/CAF01 vaccine is safe and that it is possible to generate new HIV-1 T-cell responses to defined epitopes in treatment-naïve HIV-1-infected individuals.
Clinical Immunology, 2013, Vol 146, Issue 2, p. 120-130