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The partial efficacy reported in the RV144 HIV vaccine trial in 2009 has driven the HIV vaccine field to define correlates of risk associated with HIV-1 acquisition and connect these functionally to preventing HIV infection. Immunological correlates, mainly including CD4+ T cell responses to the HIV envelope and Fc-mediated antibody effector function, have been connected to reduced acquisition. These immunological correlates place immunological and genetic pressure on the virus. Indeed, antibodies directed at conserved regions of the V1V2 loop and antibodies that mediate antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity to HIV envelope in the absence of inhibiting serum immunoglobulin A antibodies correlated with decreased HIV risk. More recently, researchers have expanded their search with nonhuman primate studies using vaccine regimens that differ from that used in RV144; these studies indicate that non-neutralizing antibodies are associated with protection from experimental lentivirus challenge as well. These immunological correlates have provided the basis for the design of a next generation of vaccine regimens to improve upon the qualitative and quantitative degree of magnitude of these immune responses on HIV acquisition.
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