Therapeutic immunization to stimulate host immune responses and control human immunodeficiency virus (HIV-1) replication is being investigated as a supplimentary treatment for the management of HIV infection. On completion of an earlier study involving three vaccinations while taking combination antiretroviral therapy (CART), twenty-five subjects with plasma viral load (pVL) <50 copies/mL received a booster vaccination with either placebo (n = 7); fowl pox vaccine (rFPV) expressing HIV-1 Gag/Pol; [partial construct - PC (n = 8)] or rFPV coexpressing HIV-1 Gag/Pol and human interferon-γ [full construct - FC (n = 10)]. One week after the booster vaccination, participants stopped ART and were monitored for safety, pVL and immunological parameters for ≤20 weeks. The time weighted mean change (SD) from baseline plasma HIV RNA was 1.80 (0.72), 1.78 (0.91) and 0.96 (0.91) log10 copies/mL for placebo, PC and FC recipients respectively (p = 0.06; mean differences between placebo and FC). Laboratory evaluations did not reveal differences in anti-HIV specific immune responses between study arms. No difference between treatment arms for host genetic factors known to affect pVL was demonstrated. In conclusion, vaccination with FC was associated with a trend toward lower rates of HIV replication following cessation of ART relative to placebo or PC. The promising antiretrovirological effect supports further study of FC in a larger trial with a broader population of patients with HIV disease.
- Pox virus vector vaccine
- Therapeutic vaccine