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A novel, experimental subunit human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) vaccine, SFV.HIVA, was constructed. This consists of Semliki Forest virus (SFV), which is a suitable vaccine vector for use in humans, and a passenger gene encoding HIVA, which is an immunogen derived from HIV-1 clade A that is being currently tested in clinical trials of combined DNA- and modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA)-vectored vaccines in Oxford (UK) and Nairobi (Kenya). In the mouse, the SFV.HIVA vaccine was highly immunogenic for T cell-mediated immune responses and induced T cell memory that lasted for at least 6 months. SFV.HIVA was also compared to the vaccines currently used in the clinical trials and was shown to be as effective in T cell induction as pTHr.HIVA DNA but less immunogenic than MVA.HIVA. When tested in a prime-boost regimen, SFV.HIVA-induced responses could be boosted by MVA.HIVA. This work is a part of a long-term effort to build a panel of subunit vaccines expressing a common immunogen, which will allow both a direct comparison of various vaccine vectors and combined vaccination regimens in humans and provide more flexibility and/or a potential optimization of vaccinations for individuals based on their pre-existing anti-vector immunity.

Original publication




Journal article


J Gen Virol

Publication Date





361 - 368


AIDS Vaccines, Animals, CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes, Cell Line, Drug Design, Female, Genetic Vectors, HIV Infections, HIV-1, Humans, Immunization, Immunization Schedule, Immunization, Secondary, Mice, Mice, Inbred BALB C, Semliki forest virus, Vaccines, Synthetic, Vaccinia virus