AIDS research and therapy 2017 09 1214(1) 55 doi 10.1186/s12981-017-0179-2
Vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV), like many other Rhabdoviruses, have become the focus of intense research over the past couple of decades based on their suitability as vaccine vectors, transient gene delivery systems, and as oncolytic viruses for cancer therapy. VSV as a vaccine vector platform has multiple advantages over more traditional viral vectors including low level, non-pathogenic replication in diverse cell types, ability to induce both humoral and cell-mediate immune responses, and the remarkable expression of foreign proteins cloned into multiple intergenic sites in the VSV genome. The utility and safety of VSV as a vaccine vector was recently demonstrated near the end of the recent Ebola outbreak in West Africa where VSV pseudotyped with the Ebola virus (EBOV) glycoprotein was proven safe in humans and provided protective efficacy against EBOV in a human phase III clinical trial. A team of Canadian scientists, led by Dr. Gary Kobinger, is now working with International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) in developing a VSV-based HIV vaccine that will combine unique Canadian research on the HIV-1 Env glycoprotein and on the VSV vaccine vector. The goal of this collaboration is to develop a vaccine with a robust and potent anti-HIV immune response with an emphasis on generating quality antibodies to protect against HIV challenges.