The Thai trial (RV144) indicates that a prime–boost vaccine combination that induces both T-cell and antibody responses may be desirable for an effective HIV vaccine. We have previously shown that immunization with synthetic long peptides (SLP), covering the conserved parts of SIV, induced strong CD4 T-cell and antibody responses, but only modest CD8 T-cell responses. To generate a more balanced CD4/CD8 T-cell and antibody response, this study evaluated a poxvector prime/SLP boost strategy in rhesus macaques. Priming with a replication-competent NYVAC, encoding HIV-1 clade C gag, pol and nef, induced modest IFNc T-cell immune responses, predominantly directed against HIV-1 Gag. Booster immunization with SLP, covering the conserved parts of HIV-1 Gag, Pol and Env, resulted in a more than 10-fold increase in IFNc ELISpot responses in four of six animals, which were predominantly HIV-1 Pol-specific. The animals showed a balanced polyfunctional CD4 and CD8 T-cell response and high Ab titres.
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