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Interactions of HIV-1 and HIV-2 in West Africa

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Final rept. 15 Nov 1994-30 Sep 2002

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Since. the discovery of the second human immunodeficiency virus in 1985, considerable progress has been made in understanding the virology and epidemiology of HIV-2. The data suggests differences between HIV-2 and HIV-1 in geographic distribution, distinct epidemic trends, differences in perinatal transmission rates and incubation periods to the development of AIDS. The virologic determinants and mechanisms for these apparent biological differences are still unknown. However, an understanding of how HIV-2 differs from HIV-1 is essential for interpretations of comparative virologic studies. We have specifically studied the interactions between HIV-2 and HIV-1 and found that the attenuated phenotype of HIV-2 is apparently capable of providing protection from subsequent infection with HIV-1. In vitro studies suggest multiple mechanisms for such protection and we have characterized some of these virus and host determinants with an aim towards understanding correlates of immune protection. This further suggests that understanding HIV-2 immunity and cross-immunity may be useful for HIV vaccine design and development. A second aim of our studies has been the development of an HIV-2 based vaccine using the novel modified lethal factor toxin of anthrax. Several HIV-2 constructs have been made and demonstrated that this novel means of antigen delivery is capable of eliciting robust HIV- 2 responses. We are hopeful that such information will be useful in future vaccine design for HIVAIDS.

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  • Medicine and Medical Research

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