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The immunogenicity and protective efficacy of a modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA) recombinant expressing the simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) Gag-Pol proteins (MVA-gag-pol) was explored in rhesus monkeys expressing the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I allele, MamuA*01. Macaques received four sequential intramuscular immunizations with the MVA-gag-pol recombinant virus or nonrecombinant MVA as a control. Gag-specific cytotoxic T-lymphocyte (CTL) responses were detected in all MVA-gag-pol-immunized macaques by both functional assays and flow cytometric analyses of CD8(+) T cells that bound a specific MHC complex class I-peptide tetramer, with levels peaking after the second immunization. Following challenge with uncloned SIVsmE660, all macaques became infected; however, viral load set points were lower in MVA-gag-pol-immunized macaques than in the MVA-immunized control macaques. MVA-gag-pol-immunized macaques exhibited a rapid and substantial anamnestic CTL response specific for the p11C, C-M Gag epitope. The level at which CTL stabilized after resolution of primary viremia correlated inversely with plasma viral load set point (P = 0.03). Most importantly, the magnitude of reduction in viremia in the vaccinees was predicted by the magnitude of the vaccine-elicited CTL response prior to SIV challenge.

Original publication




Journal article


Journal of virology

Publication Date





2502 - 2509


Division of Viral Pathogenesis, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.


T-Lymphocytes, Cytotoxic, Animals, Macaca mulatta, Vaccinia virus, Viremia, Simian Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome, Fusion Proteins, gag-pol, SAIDS Vaccines, Viral Load, Predictive Value of Tests, Genetic Vectors, Simian immunodeficiency virus