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HIV vaccines: can CD4⁺ T cells be of help?

Journal Contribution - Journal Editorial

Subtitle:HIV vaccines : can CD4(+) T cells be of help?
Defining immune correlates of protection against the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) remains a major challenge. While the role of neutralizing antibodies and CD8(+) T cell responses has been widely acknowledged and applied in vaccine development, little vaccine candidates have focused on CD4(+) T cells. As the main target of HIV, CD4(+) T cells play a pivotal role in HIV infection. An HIV vaccine that elicits strong, multi-specific, polyfunctional and persisting CD4(+) T cell responses would therefore have the potential of lowering viral set point when HIV infection occurs or reducing viral load in already infected patients. In a combined approach with neutralizing antibodies and CD8(+) T cells, CD4(+) T cells cannot only enhance the magnitude, quality and durability of the desired antibody response, but will also provide the help needed to induce and maintain effective antiviral CD8(+) T cell responses. In addition, the disease-modifying potential of the CD4(+) T cell response, by lowering viral set point and/or viral load and thus probability of transmission, may be beneficial both at the individual and public health level.
ISSN: 2164-5515
Issue: 12
Volume: 8
Pages: 1795 - 1798
Publication year:2012