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Archive for March, 2012

The HVTN: Strategic Accomplishments of the First Decade and Beyond

March 2, 2012 Comments off

by Tracey Day, Cecilia Morgan, Adi Ferrara, and Jim Kublin

The development of an effective HIV vaccine is one of humanity’s greatest scientific challenges. In acknowledging that the path to an effective HIV vaccine will likely require numerous iterative steps, the HVTN has aimed to improve the process of designing, implementing, and analyzing HIV vaccine clinical trials. Over the last decade, while conducting numerous clinical trials, the Network has made significant scientific contributions to the field and set precedents in community engagement. These and other major achievements are discussed below (see Figure 1). Read more…

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The Role of Innate Immunity in Vaccinology

March 2, 2012 Comments off

by Antje Heit and Erica Andersen-Nissen

Two distinct parts of the immune system protect the body from pathogens. The first line of defense is the immediate, short-lived and non-specific innate immune response. It is followed by the long-lasting adaptive immune response, consisting of B and T cells that produce antibodies and kill infected cells in a pathogen-specific manner. Thus far, vaccine development efforts have primarily focused on analyzing the vaccine-induced adaptive immune response. However, we now know that the type and strength of the early innate response dramatically affects the nature of the ensuing adaptive response. Thus, there is currently an intense interest in learning how best to manipulate innate responses, in order to induce optimally protective adaptive responses for vaccine development.1 Read more…

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Auxiliary Research Projects 2011

March 2, 2012 Comments off

The HVTN, having data and specimens available from multiple trials, is well-suited to collaborate on studies going beyond the primary analyses in our clinical trials. The HVTN encourages these auxiliary studies to address novel scientific questions. The following table includes an overview of over 35 auxiliary studies with activity in 2011, involving over 35 institutions in 9 countries. Read more…

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VISP and the HVTN’s Commitment to Poststudy HIV Testing

March 2, 2012 Comments off

by Carissa Karg, Margaret Wecker

The goal of an HIV vaccine is to induce an anti-HIV immune response; while an effective vaccine has not yet been found, many of the experimental HIV vaccines have induced immune responses that include anti-HIV antibodies. These antibodies may react on common HIV serologic tests, causing the test to appear positive even in the absence of actual HIV infection. This phenomenon is known as vaccine-induced seropositivity or VISP (this is also referred to as vaccine-induced seroreactivity or VISR). As part of every HIV vaccine clinical trial conducted by the HVTN, study participants undergo HIV diagnostic testing throughout the trial, and participants are encouraged to only have their HIV testing done through their study site. This testing follows an algorithm that can distinguish true infection from VISP through RNA polymerase chain reaction (PCR), Western blots, enzyme immunoassay (EIA), chemiluminescence assay (CIA), or Rapid serology tests along with knowledge of the different vaccine delivery systems and HIV inserts. At the conclusion of a participant’s scheduled study visits, end of study testing is performed to determine whether or not the HIV vaccine has induced antibodies that would result in a positive test on standard HIV antibody tests. Read more…

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