Recombinant Picornaviruses as AIDS Vaccines

Investigator: Raul Andino-Pavlovsky, PhD
Sponsor: NIH National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease

Location(s): United States


Sexual transmission is the major route for the spread of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in the AIDS pandemic progression. Most attempts to develop a protective HIV vaccine have failed despite eliciting strong systemic immune responses. The basic hypothesis is that essential requirements for protective immunization against HIV and other related lentiviruses may involve 1) induction of mucosal immunity and 2) immunological responses against multiple viral antigens. To test this hypothesis, we have developed replication-competent poliovirus recombinants that carry and express antigens derived from the simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV). Because there are no good immunological correlates for protection against SIV infection, we have elected to express the entire SIV genome in defined, discrete overlapping fragments. With this approach all the potentially important antigenic sequences can be effectively expressed at local mucosal sites by the inoculation of a cocktail of recombinant polioviruses that carries a complete set of SIV antigens. Infection of susceptible mice and cynomolgus monkeys with poliovirus-SIV cocktails elicits serum and secretory humoral responses, as well as a strong cellular immunity to the inserted sequences. Most importantly, vaccination of cynomolgus monkeys with poliovirus-SIV cocktails protects against infection and IDS after intraviginal challenge with highly pathogenic SIVmac251. The specific goals are to further develop the quality and immunogenic potential of Polio/SIV cocktails, to study the immunity elicited by the poliovirus vectors, and to further examine the protective immunity induced by poliovirus-SIV cocktails.