Patterns of viral replication correlate with outcome in simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV)-infected macaques: effect of prior immunization with a trivalent SIV vaccine in modified vaccinia virus Ankara.
Hirsch VM., Fuerst TR., Sutter G., Carroll MW., Yang LC., Goldstein S., Piatak M., Elkins WR., Alvord WG., Montefiori DC., Moss B., Lifson JD.
The dynamics of plasma viremia were explored in a group of 12 simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV)-infected rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta) that had received prior immunization with either nonrecombinant or trivalent (gag-pol, env) SIV-recombinant vaccinia viruses. Three distinct patterns of viral replication observed during and following primary viremia accounted for significant differences in survival times. High-level primary plasma viremia with subsequently increasing viremia was associated with rapid progression to AIDS (n = 2). A high-level primary plasma virus load with a transient decline and subsequent progressive increase in viremia in the post-acute phase of infection was associated with progression to AIDS within a year (n = 6). Low levels of primary plasma viremia followed by sustained restriction of virus replication were associated with maintenance of normal lymphocyte subsets and intact lymphoid architecture (n = 4), reminiscent of the profile observed in human immunodeficiency virus type 1-infected long-term nonprogressors. Three of four macaques that showed this pattern had been immunized with an SIV recombinant derived from the attenuated vaccinia virus, modified vaccinia virus Ankara. These data link the dynamics and extent of virus replication to disease course and suggest that sustained suppression of virus promotes long-term, asymptomatic survival of SIV-infected macaques. These findings also suggest that vaccine modulation of host immunity may have profound beneficial effects on the subsequent disease course, even if sterilizing immunity is not achieved.