Good CoP, bad CoP? Interrogating the immune responses to primate lentiviral vaccines
Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome
Simian Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome
Simian Immunodeficiency Virus
Correlates of protection (CoPs) against infection by primate lentiviruses remain undefined. Modest protection against HIV-1 was observed in one human vaccine trial, whereas previous trials and vaccine-challenge experiments in non-human primates have yielded inconsistent but intriguing results. Although high levels of neutralizing antibodies are known to protect macaques from mucosal and intravenous viral challenges, antibody or other adaptive immune responses associated with protection might also be mere markers of innate immunity or susceptibility. Specific strategies for augmenting the design of both human trials and animal experiments could help to identify mechanistic correlates of protection and clarify the influences of confounding factors. Robust protection may, however, require the combined actions of immune responses and other host factors, thereby limiting what inferences can be drawn from statistical associations. Here, we discuss how to analyze immune protection against primate lentiviruses, and how host factors could influence both the elicitation and effectiveness of vaccine-induced responses.