AIDS research and therapy 2017 09 1214(1) 47 doi 10.1186/s12981-017-0176-5
The development of an efficient prophylactic HIV vaccine has been one of the major challenges in infectious disease research during the last three decades. Here, we present a mini review on strategies employed for the development of HIV vaccines with an emphasis on a well-established vaccine technology, the killed whole-virus vaccine approach. Recently, we reported an evaluation of the safety and the immunogenicity of a genetically modified and killed whole-HIV-1 vaccine designated as SAV001 . HIV-1 Clade B NL4-3 was genetically modified by deleting the nef and vpu genes and substituting the coding sequence of the Env signal peptide with that of honeybee melittin to produce an avirulent and replication efficient HIV-1. This genetically modified virus (gmHIV-1 NL4-3 ) was propagated in a human T cell line followed by virus purification and inactivation by aldrithiol-2 and γ-irradiation. We found that SAV001 was well tolerated with no serious adverse events. HIV-1 NL4-3 -specific polymerase chain reaction showed no evidence of vaccine virus replication in participants receiving SAV001 and in human T cells infected in vitro. Furthermore, SAV001 with an adjuvant significantly increased the antibody response to HIV-1 structural proteins. Moreover, antibodies in the plasma from these vaccinations neutralized tier I and tier II of HIV-1 B, A, and D subtypes. These results indicated that the killed whole-HIV vaccine is safe and may trigger appropriate immune responses to prevent HIV infection. Utilization of this killed whole-HIV vaccine strategy may pave the way to develop an effective HIV vaccine.