Research ArticleHIV

Antigenic competition in CD4+ T cell responses in a randomized, multicenter, double-blind clinical HIV vaccine trial

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Science Translational Medicine  20 Nov 2019:
Vol. 11, Issue 519, eaaw1673
DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aaw1673

Troublesome T cells

Many HIV vaccines aim to generate robust T cell responses, but two new studies show that this is not always straightforward. Chamcha et al. analyzed data from several nonhuman primate vaccine studies with SIV/SHIV challenges and discovered that achieving a certain threshold of vaccine-induced IFN-γ+ CD4 T cells lowered vaccine efficacy, possibly by providing target cells for the virus. Kallas et al. vaccinated people with HIV Gag/Pol alone or with Env to see whether antigenic competition could interfere with CD4 T cell responses; lower responses to Gag/Pol were detected when Env was also administered, indicating that including multiple antigens in a vaccine may preclude maximal T cell responses. Together, these studies highlight how we must tread carefully on the path to an effective HIV vaccine.

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