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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.

Original publication




Journal article


Journal of virology

Publication Date





3741 - 3752


Laboratory of Infectious Diseases, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Rockville, Maryland 20892, USA.


Lymph Nodes, Animals, Macaca mulatta, Vaccinia virus, Simian Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome, Vaccines, Synthetic, SAIDS Vaccines, Immunization, Virus Replication, Base Sequence, Genes, env, Genes, gag, Genes, pol, Molecular Sequence Data