Improved vaccine-mediated protection against HIV-1 requires a thorough understanding of the mode of HIV-1 transmission and how various immune responses control transmission. Cell-associated HIV-1 is infectious and contributes to HIV-1 transmission in humans. Non-human primate models of cell-associated SIV infection demonstrate that cell-associated SIV is more infectious than cell-free SIV. In a recently described chimeric simian–human immunodeficiency virus (SHIV) macaque model, it was demonstrated that an occult infection with cell-associated SHIV can be established that evades passive protection with a broadly neutralizing antibody (bnAb). Indeed, considerable in vitro data shows that bnAbs have less efficacy against cell-associated HIV-1 than cell-free HIV-1. Optimizing the protective capacity of immune responses such as bnAbs against cell-associated infections may be needed to maximize their protective efficacy.
- Broadly neutralizing antibody
- Cell-associated virus
- Simian-human immunodeficiency virus