Since HIV-1 was identified, development of a preventive vaccine has been a major goal. Significant progress toward that goal has been made by 2010. In macaques, a vigorous T effector cell response has protected some animals from disease caused by simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV). Broadly, neutralizing human anti-HIV antibodies have been isolated and their structures, and targets are rapidly being elucidated. For the first time an AIDS vaccine has shown modest protective efficacy in a human clinical trial.
To reach the final goal, there is a need for a coordinated global effort, including a range of approaches including novel high-throughput screening techniques, X-ray crystallography, and monoclonal antibody isolation, analysis of T cell responses and their impact on disease progression, human epidemiology, as well as targeted studies in nonhuman primates. African research teams as well as cohorts of healthy volunteers and HIV-infected individuals have contributed to HIV vaccine research and development in many important ways. It is essential that this work continue to speed the development and deployment of a vaccine suitable for African populations.
Fast, P.; Kaleebu, P. HIV vaccines: current status worldwide and in Africa. AIDS (2010) 24 (Suppl 4) S50-S60. [DOI: 10.1097/01.aids.0000390707.58512.5e]