Nature Cover Issue: The Elusive Aids Vaccine

Volume 464 Number 7286 pp141-316  11 March 2010

[This week’s issue features a cover with the lead title “The Elusive Aids Vaccine”]

Accelerating HIV vaccine development
Wayne C. Koff

Translational-research programmes supported by flexible, long-term, large-scale grants are needed to turn advances in basic science into successful vaccines to halt the AIDS epidemic,

Immunology and the elusive AIDS vaccine
Herbert W. Virgin (1) & Bruce D. Walker (2)

[Nature Editor’s Summary]
Several lines of evidence suggest that simply generating an immune response similar to that seen in natural infections is unlikely to protect against HIV/AIDS. With this in mind, Herbert Virgin and Bruce Walker argue that our fundamental approach to HIV vaccination needs to be re-examined. Their review outlines the immunological questions still to be answered if an effective vaccine is to be produced.

[Author’s First Paragraph per Nature convention]
Developing a human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) vaccine is critical to end the global acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) epidemic, but many question whether this goal is achievable. Natural immunity is not protective, and despite immunogenicity of HIV vaccine candidates, human trials have exclusively yielded disappointing results. Nevertheless, there is an indication that success may be possible, but this will be dependent on understanding the antiviral immune response in unprecedented depth to identify and engineer the types of immunity required. Here we outline fundamental immunological questions that need to be answered to develop a protective HIV vaccine, and the immediate need to harness a much broader scientific community to achieve this goal.

(1)Washington University School of Medicine and Midwest Regional Center of Excellence for Biodefense and Emerging Infectious Disease Research, Campus Box 8118, 660 South Euclid Avenue, Saint Louis, Missouri 63110, USA

(2) Ragon Institute of Massachusetts General Hospital, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, 149 13th Street, Charlestown, Massachusetts 02129, USA

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