Mucosal surfaces, such as the lining of the mouth and anus, are a portal of entry for HIV infection, particularly since they lead to the intestine where the conditions for the virus to replicate are optimal. Thus, developing a vaccine that would prevent HIV entry through mucosal surfaces is paramount to fighting the AIDS epidemic.
A team of researchers lead by Jay Berzofsky at the US National Cancer Institute compared the protective ability of a vaccine given subcutaneously (s.c.) and intrarectally to macaque monkeys (Nature Medicine). The vaccine was a combination of peptides based on the HIV virus known to stimulate antibodies and other cytotoxic cells. The scientists found that when they administered the vaccine (plus an adjuvant to stimulate a response) at the mucosal surface of the rectum it was more effective at preventing infection with simian/human immunodeficiency virus (SHIV) than when the same vaccine was administered s.c.
Dr Jay A. Berzofsky
Molecular Immunogenetics and Vaccine Research Section
National Cancer Institute
Telephone: +1 301 496 6874
Fax: +1 301 496 9956
(C) Nature Medicine press release.
Message posted by: Trevor M. D'Souza