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Clade B virus-like particle (VLP)-expressing HIV vaccine
A human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) vaccine is of high importance for the control of the current pandemic. Outside of screening blood, male circumcision and drug treatment of mothers and infants at birth, the effectiveness of public health measures have been limited by compliance and cost. Particularly important in the path towards an HIV vaccine has been the Thai RV144 efficacy trials, which demonstrated that priming with a recombinant canary poxvirus (ALVAC) and boosting with ALVAC plus gp120 protein provided partial protection against HIV. In RV144, a non-neutralizing antibody was associated with reduced risk. Non-neutralizing antibodies, which can directly block infection, distinguish themselves from neutralizing antibodies by mediating protection via the fragment crystallizable (Fc) regions of bound antibody, triggering killing by innate immune responses, such as antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity, phagocytosis and complement-mediated killing. GeoVax (Atlanta, GA, USA) has developed clade B vaccines that have undergone phase I and IIa clinical testing in the Americas through the HIV Vaccine Trials Network.