HIV vaccine efficacy and immune correlates of risk

Robert J. O'Connell, Jean Louis Excler*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Although immune correlates of protection for HIV vaccines have remained an intractable question, RV144 provided the first evidence that an HIV vaccine could provide protective efficacy against HIV acquisition. The study of correlates of risk has opened large and unforeseen avenues of exploration and hope for the most exciting time of HIV vaccine development. Several elements in the RV144 post-hoc analysis and recent macaque challenge studies suggest that antibodies directed against the V2 loop of gp120 are functional and may have played a protective role against virus acquisition. Several protective mechanisms against sexual transmission of HIV are evoked including blocking the gp120-α4β7 interaction and ADCC although possibly mitigated by high levels of Env-specific IgA, both mechanisms contributing at least partially to the protective effect. Several questions remain unanswered that will deserve intensive assessments, in particular, IgG and IgA Env antibodies in mucosal secretions, Env-specific IgG subclasses, cross-reaction of V2 antibodies, role of T-follicular helper cells, and B-cell memory. Whether RV144 correlates of risk are universal and apply at least partially to other populations at higher risk for HIV acquisition and other modes of transmission (rectal, injecting drug users) is unknown and remains to be explored. Future efficacy trials using the same vaccine concept tested in high-risk heterosexual populations and in men having sex with men may answer this question. In addition, the determination of early events in the pathogenesis among HIV-infected vaccine recipients based on current correlates knowledge would offer unprecedented information about correlates biomarkers in the peripheral blood and gut mucosa during early acute HIV infection.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)450-463
Number of pages14
JournalCurrent HIV Research
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Efficacy trial
  • HIV
  • Immune correlates
  • Prime-boost
  • V2 antibodies
  • Vaccine


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