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Biomarkers of natural and vaccine immunity against HIV

Keane, N.M. and John, M. (2011) Biomarkers of natural and vaccine immunity against HIV. Biomarkers in Medicine, 5 (2). pp. 113-116.

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HIV-1 is the cause of one of the most destructive pandemics in human history, with 33.4 million people currently infected worldwide [101]. Development of a vaccine that could prevent acquisition or disease associated with approximately 7000 new infections occurring daily remains an urgent priority in global health. The difficulty in defining consistent and easily measurable biological marker(s) of immune protection has been among the key scientific challenges to HIV vaccine development to date. Defining single genes, cells or molecules as biomarkers is inherently problematic when even the respective roles of antibodies, CD4 T cells, CD8 T cells or innate arms of the immune response at mucosal and systemic sites are not completely understood. Furthermore, the function of each of these arms in any individual is influenced by host genetic polymorphisms, viral evasion strategies and complex interactions between multiple markers. In general, immunity against human pathogens operates as a coordinated system of many interdependent biological processes and not as a response involving mutually exclusive or independent systems (i.e., purely humoral or purely cellular). Nevertheless, HIV vaccine research has historically differentiated along these lines based on alternative goals of inducing long-lived protection from HIV infection versus achieving control of viral replication in established infection. The typical serological responses against HIV-1, characterized by late production of neutralizing antibody against the autologous virus well after viremia peaks and viral reservoirs are established, does not provide a model of natural immunity that can be used as the basis for developing vaccine sterilizing immunity. Hence, rather than recapitulating the optimal responses found in nature as other successful vaccines have done, a preventative HIV vaccine would have to do better than nature.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation: Institute for Immunology and Infectious Diseases
Publisher: Future Medicine Ltd.
Copyright: © 2011 Future Medicine Ltd.
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