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Posted: 22 Sep 2011

Vaccine development traditionally used antibody titers as indicators of immunogenicity. However, the challenge of developing an HIV vaccine led researchers to explore other approaches. The paper presented this week describes one of the first efforts to elicit T cell responses and carefully document them after vaccination – both a...

Posted: 15 Sep 2011

The importance of mucosa in the early events of HIV transmission is widely appreciated today. It represents the first line of defense against the virus and it is there that the virus initially enters the body and infects first cells before spreading systemically. The physiology, biology and immunology of mucosal surfaces are currently under...

Posted: 8 Sep 2011

Historically, a robust humoral antibody response to a pathogen has been viewed as key to the control of viral replication and, hence, to an effective vaccine. The role of cell-based immune responses has been unclear, at best. The paper presented this week uncovered some of the very first evidence that T-cells – in this case CD8+ T cells –...

Posted: 1 Sep 2011

The first efficacy trial of an HIV vaccine, AIDSvax, began in 1998. This vaccine, which contained the gp120 envelope glycoprotein of the virus, proved to be ineffective. The difficulty of vaccine candidates to elicit effective immune responses relate to the ability of HIV to confound the humoral immune system with its viral spike, which is...

Posted: 25 Aug 2011

The success of the combination therapy suggested that the virus was fully suppressed in patients on HAART. Some initially interpreted this suppression as sign that, with time, the virus might be fully eradicated by the immune system. Others suspected that eradication would be difficult because integrated viruses were found in long-lived...