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Lab Reports
January 2, 2008

Harmful HIV Carrier

JAMA. 2008;299(1):29. doi:10.1001/jama.2007.34

Vectors used to create experimental HIV vaccines could do patients more harm than good by dampening the immune response to a natural infection, according to animal studies performed at the Wistar Institute in Philadelphia (Lin SW et al. J Clin Invest. 2007;117[12]:3958-3970). The findings suggest that recombinant adeno-associated virus (rAAV) may undermine the immune system and should not be used for vaccine development.

Specifically, while rAAV properly induces HIV-specific T cells of the immune system, those cells are functionally impaired. In studies conducted in mice, HIV-specific T cells induced by the rAAV vector only poorly protected animals from subsequent infection, failed to secrete adequate levels of immune system–activating cytokines, and displayed a severely impaired ability to proliferate.