Development of a preventive vaccine for HIV is the best hope of controlling the AIDS pandemic. Evidence from natural history studies and experiments in animal models indicates that immunity against HIV is possible, suggesting that vaccine development is feasible. These studies have shown that sufficient levels of neutralizing antibody against HIV can prevent infection, although the effect is type-specific. In contrast, HIV-specific cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) activity has broad cross-reactivity, and although CTL activity alone cannot prevent HIV infection, it can control the level of viremia at a low level. Evaluation of candidate vaccines in human trials has focused on approaches that can safely elicit HIV-specific antibody and T cell responses. Current strategies have been unable to induce antibody with broad neutralizing activity against primary HIV isolates. However, recombinant poxvirus and DNA vaccines have elicited CTL responses that are broadly cross-reactive against primary HIV isolates from diverse clades. Future advances will require the discovery of new immunogens that can induce neutralizing antibody, as well as efficacy trial evaluation of regimens optimized for CTL induction.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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