PloS one 2017 11 1712(11) e0185959 doi 10.1371/journal.pone.0185959
Although the HVTN 505 DNA/recombinant adenovirus type 5 vector HIV-1 vaccine trial showed no overall efficacy, analysis of breakthrough HIV-1 sequences in participants can help determine whether vaccine-induced immune responses impacted viruses that caused infection. We analyzed 480 HIV-1 genomes sampled from 27 vaccine and 20 placebo recipients and found that intra-host HIV-1 diversity was significantly lower in vaccine recipients (P ≤ 0.04, Q-values ≤ 0.09) in Gag, Pol, Vif and envelope glycoprotein gp120 (Env-gp120). Furthermore, Env-gp120 sequences from vaccine recipients were significantly more distant from the subtype B vaccine insert than sequences from placebo recipients (P = 0.01, Q-value = 0.12). These vaccine effects were associated with signatures mapping to CD4 binding site and CD4-induced monoclonal antibody footprints. These results suggest either (i) no vaccine efficacy to block acquisition of any viral genotype but vaccine-accelerated Env evolution post-acquisition; or (ii) vaccine efficacy against HIV-1s with Env sequences closest to the vaccine insert combined with increased acquisition due to other factors, potentially including the vaccine vector.