Between Bedside and Bench | Published:

Moving ahead an HIV vaccine: Use both arms to beat HIV

Nature Medicine volume 17, pages 11941195 (2011) | Download Citation

Despite remarkable advances in managing disease progression in people infected with HIV, an effective vaccine to prevent infectivity and stop the HIV epidemic remains an unmet clinical need. The genetic variability of the virus and the poor natural immune response—humoral and cellular—generated against HIV are hurdles that pose challenges to vaccine development. In 'Bench to Bedside', Bruce Walker, Rafi Ahmed and Stanley Plotkin examine a study in rhesus macaques where a vector-based viral vaccine that elicits a persistent and rapid T effector cell response to SIV antigens results in control of the infection. Although only 50% of the rhesus macaques controlled the infection, this in vivo finding stresses how outdoing the natural immune cellular response can prove effective to clear systemic viruses. But a humoral response will still remain the 'holy grail' to avoid HIV infection and transmission. In 'Bedside to Bench' Tom Hope peruses recent vaccine trials to propose how to best achieve an effective antibody response against HIV by discussing the perks and perils of non-neutralizing versus broadly neutralizing antibodies.

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Author information


  1. Bruce D. Walker is at the Ragon Institute of Massachusetts General Hospital, Massachusetts Instiute of Technology and Harvard, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts, USA and Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Chevy Chase, Maryland, USA.

    • Bruce D Walker
  2. Rafi Ahmed is at Emory Vaccine Center, Emory University School of Medicine, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia, USA.

    • Rafi Ahmed
  3. Stanley Plotkin is at the University of Pennsylvania and Vaxconsult, Doylestown, Pennsylvania, USA.

    • Stanley Plotkin


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Competing interests

S.P. consults for all major manufacturers of vaccines, including Sanofi Pasteur, sponsor of the RV144 trial.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Bruce D Walker.

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