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The complexity of the search for an AIDS vaccine is highlighted this week with the publication of two papers in Nature.

In the first, Shiver and colleagues describe how they effectively stimulated antiviral cellular immune responses by immunizing rhesus macaques against a protein from a monkey AIDS virus, the simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV).

The immunisations did not prevent — but did help to control — subsequent infection with a related virus. Used clinically, such a vaccine might result in a longer period of infection without symptoms, and a decreased risk of transmission.

But a in the second paper, Barouch and colleagues report the escape of an immunodeficiency virus from a similar vaccine that had originally controlled the infection, providing a note of caution on the ultimate effectiveness of vaccines that control rather than prevent infection.

Link to news article in Nature
Link to paper by Shiver et al
Link to paper by Barouch et al

Reference: Nature, 17 January, 2002

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