Safety, Immunogenicity, and Feasibility in Guinea-Bissau
We have designed a therapeutic HIV-1 vaccine concept based on peptides together with the adjuvant CAF01. Peptides represented 15 HLA-supertype-restricted subdominant and conserved CD8 T cell epitopes and three CD4 T-helper cell epitopes. In this phase I clinical trial, safety and immunogenicity were assessed in untreated HIV-1-infected individuals in Guinea-Bissau, West Africa. Twenty-three HIV-1-infected individuals were randomized to receive placebo (n=5) or vaccine (n=18). Safety was appraised by clinical follow-up combined with monitoring of biochemistry, hematology, CD4 T cell counts, and HIV-1 viral loads. T cell immunogenicity was monitored longitudinally by interferon (IFN)-γ ELISpot. New vaccine-specific T cell responses were induced in 6/14 vaccinees for whom ELISpot data were valid. CD4 T cell counts and viral loads were stable. The study shows that therapeutic immunization is feasible and safe in Guinea-Bissau and that it is possible to redirect T cell immunity with CAF01-adjuvanted HIV-1 peptide vaccine during untreated HIV-1 infection in some patients. However, relatively few preexisting and vaccine-induced HIV-1 T cell responses to CD8 T cell epitopes were detected against HIV-1 using IFN-γ ELISpot in this chronically infected African population.
Aids Research and Human Retroviruses, 2013, Vol 29, Issue 11, p. 1504-12