Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Monkey models for AIDS research

The Concerted Action (CA) was established to bring together the limited and expensive European resources on research aiming at the development of an effective vaccine preventing infection with the human immunodeficiency virus and/or the subsequent development of the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). The infection of rhesus and cynomolgus macaques with different strains of simian immunodeficiency viruses (SIV) represents a relevant animal model for human AIDS. An animal study was jointly designed to determine whether preinfection of rhesus and cynomolgus macaques with an apathogenic molecular clone of SIVmac32H can protect the animals from pathogenic challenge infection. As the study was designed as a multicentre cooperation, additional points of interest could be investigated: the period of immunity, the protection from different heterologous challenge viruses and from different routes of infection as well as possible differences between rhesus and cynomolgus macaques. The trial was conducted in 1994 and 1995 among 10 participating primate facilities in 6 European countries using more than 60 rhesus and cynomolgus macaques. By far most of the preinfected monkeys were protected from superinfection by different viruses and different inoculation routes. No signs of immunodeficiency were observed in monkeys infected with the nef-deleted virus, however, in a small group of rhesus monkeys the virus was able to replenish the nef-deletion. These monkeys later developed clinical AIDS. Thus the strategy of deleting certain regions of regulatory genes seems to be the right way towards a live attenuated vaccine against lentiviruses. Future research work aims at designing safer vaccine viruses that are unable to re-mutate to pathogenicity. A vaccine trial using different recombinant vaccinia viruses (MVA strain) is currently under investigation.

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Deutsches Primatenzentrum GmbH
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D-37077 Goettingen
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