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Novel Vaccine Approach Offers Hope in Fight Against HIV
Date:5/17/2009

ed immunoadhesins) that were specifically designed to bind to SIV and block it from infecting cells. Once proven to work against SIV in the laboratory, DNA representing SIV-specific immunoadhesins was engineered into a carrier virus designed to deliver the DNA to monkeys. The researchers chose adeno-associated virus (AAV) as the carrier virus because it is a very effective way to insert DNA into the cells of a monkey or human.

In the second part of the study, the team injected AAV carriers into the muscles of monkeys, where the imported DNA produced immunoadhesins that entered the blood circulation. One month after administration of the AAV carriers, the immunized monkeys were injected with live, AIDS-causing SIV. The majority of the immunized monkeys were completely protected from SIV infection, and all were protected from AIDS. In contrast, a group of unimmunized monkeys were all infected by SIV, and two-thirds died of AIDS complications. High concentrations of the SIV-specific immunoadhesins remained in the blood for over a year.

Further studies need to be conducted if this technique is to become an actual preventive measure against HIV infection in people, Johnson said. "To ultimately succeed, more and better molecules that work against HIV, including human monoclonal antibodies, will be needed," he and his co-authors conclude. Finally, added Johnson, their approach may also have potential use in preventing other infectious diseases, such as malaria.

Grants from the National Institute of Allergic and Infectious Diseases of the National Institutes of Health supported this study. Johnson's collaborators, in addition to Clark, were Jianchao Zhang, of Nationwide Children's Hospital, Columbus, Ohio; Eloisa Yuste and Ronald C. Desrosiers of the New England Primate Research Center and Harvard Medical School; and Bruce C. Schnepp, Mary J. Connell, and Sean M. Greene, of Children's Hospital and the Univer
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SOURCE The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
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