HIV vaccine strategies

Gary J. Nabel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Traditional methods of vaccine development have not produced effective vaccines for several prevalent infectious diseases, including AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis. These difficult diseases call attention to the importance of new approaches that profit from modern technologies. Successful efforts in the past have typically taken advantage of naturally occurring, protective immune responses, but this avenue is not readily available in certain cases, such as in HIV infection, where the immune system rarely confers protective immunity. However, there are alternative strategies and areas of research that may facilitate the development of highly effective vaccines. These include the identification of immunogens that elicit broadly neutralizing antibodies, determination of the molecular and cellular basis for immune responses to the components of the infectious agent, the identification of relevant forms of viral proteins for antigen presentation, stimulation of relevant T-cell types, and enhancement of antigen-presenting, dendritic cell function. Answering these basic research questions will aid in rational vaccine design. It is also extremely important to optimize techniques for the testing and production of new vaccines including the quantitation of immune responses in animals and in humans, identification of surrogate markers of immune protection, streamlined vaccine production, and rapid evaluation of candidate vaccines for testing in clinical trials. We have put these ideas into practice in two recent studies in which we generated enhanced cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) responses, while retaining robust humoral responses, to wild-type viral proteins by immunizing mice with genetically modified forms of HIV-1 Env, Gag and Pol delivered in the form of plasmid DNA expression vectors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1945-1947
Number of pages3
Issue number15
StatePublished - May 6 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • HIV
  • Immunity
  • Vaccine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Microbiology
  • Virology
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • veterinary(all)


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