The Role of Exposure History on HIV Acquisition: Insights from Repeated Low-dose Challenge Studies
- Journal Article
Rights / licenseCreative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported
To assess the efficacy of HIV vaccine candidates or preventive treatment, many research groups have started to challenge monkeys repeatedly with low doses of the virus. Such challenge data provide a unique opportunity to assess the importance of exposure history for the acquisition of the infection. I developed stochastic models to analyze previously published challenge data. In the mathematical models, I allowed for variation of the animals' susceptibility to infection across challenge repeats, or across animals. In none of the studies I analyzed, I found evidence for an immunizing effect of non-infecting challenges, and in most studies, there is no evidence for variation in the susceptibilities to the challenges across animals. A notable exception was a challenge experiment by Letvin et al. Sci Translat Med (2011) conducted with the strain SIVsmE660. The challenge data of this experiment showed significant susceptibility variation from animal-to-animal, which is consistent with previously established genetic differences between the involved animals. For the studies which did not show significant immunizing effects and susceptibility differences, I conducted a power analysis and could thus exclude a very strong immunization effect for some of the studies. These findings validate the assumption that non-infecting challenges do not immunize an animal — an assumption that is central in the argument that repeated low-dose challenge experiments increase the statistical power of preclinical HIV vaccine trials. They are also relevant for our understanding of the role of exposure history for HIV acquisition and forecasting the epidemiological spread of HIV. Show more
Journal / seriesPLoS Computational Biology
Pages / Article No.
Organisational unit03584 - Bonhoeffer, Sebastian / Bonhoeffer, Sebastian
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