[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Three phase 2b, double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized efficacy trials have tested recombinant Adenovirus serotype-5 (rAd5)-vector preventive HIV-1 vaccines: MRKAd5 HIV-1 gag/pol/nef in Step and Phambili, and DNA/rAd5 HIV-1 env/gag/pol in HVTN505. Due to efficacy futility observed at the first interim analysis in Step and HVTN505, participants of all three studies were unblinded to their vaccination assignments during the study but continued follow-up. Rigorous meta-analysis can provide crucial information to advise the future utility of rAd5-vector vaccines.
We included participant-level data from all three efficacy trials, and three Phase 1-2 trials evaluating the HVTN505 vaccine regimen. We predefined two co-primary analysis cohorts for assessing the vaccine effect on HIV-1 acquisition. The modified-intention-to-treat (MITT) cohort included all randomly assigned participants HIV-1 uninfected at study entry, who received at least the first vaccine/placebo, and the Ad5 cohort included MITT participants who received at least one dose of rAd5-HIV vaccine or rAd5-placebo. Multivariable Cox regression models were used to estimate hazard ratios (HRs) of HIV-1 infection (vaccine vs. placebo) and evaluate HR variation across vaccine regimens, time since vaccination, and subgroups using interaction tests.
Results are similar for the MITT and Ad5 cohorts; we summarize MITT cohort results. Pooled across the efficacy trials, over all follow-up time 403 (n = 224 vaccine; n = 179 placebo) of 6266 MITT participants acquired HIV-1, with a non-significantly higher incidence in vaccine recipients (HR 1.21, 95% CI 0.99-1.48, P = 0.06). The HRs significantly differed by vaccine regimen (interaction P = 0.03; MRKAd5 HR 1.41, 95% CI 1.11-1.78, P = 0.005 vs. DNA/rAd5 HR 0.88, 95% CI 0.61-1.26, P = 0.48). Results were similar when including the Phase 1-2 trials. Exploratory analyses based on the efficacy trials supported that the MRKAd5 vaccine-increased risk was concentrated in Ad5-positive or uncircumcised men early in follow-up, and in Ad5-negative or circumcised men later. Overall, MRKAd5 vaccine-increased risk was evident across subgroups except in circumcised Ad5-negative men (HR 0.97, 95% CI 0.58-1.63, P = 0.91); there was little evidence that the DNA/rAd5 vaccine, that was tested in this subgroup, increased risk (HR 0.88, 95% CI 0.61-1.26, P = 0.48). When restricting the analysis of Step and Phambili to follow-up time before unblinding, 114 (n = 65 vaccine; n = 49 placebo) of 3770 MITT participants acquired HIV-1, with a non-significantly higher incidence in MRKAd5 vaccine recipients (HR 1.30, 95% CI 0.89-1.14, P = 0.18).
The data support increased risk of HIV-1 infection by MRKAd5 over all follow-up time, but do not support increased risk of HIV-1 infection by DNA/rAd5. This study provides a rationale for including monitoring plans enabling detection of increased susceptibility to infection in HIV-1 at-risk populations.
PLoS ONE 09/2015; 10(9):e0136626. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0136626 · 3.23 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Given the variation in the HIV-1 viral load (VL) set point across subjects, as opposed to a fairly stable VL over time within an infected individual, it is important to identify the characteristics of the host and virus that affect VL set point. Although recently infected individuals with multiple phylogenetically linked HIV-1 founder variants represent a minority of HIV-1 infections, we found-in two different cohorts-that more diverse HIV-1 populations in early infection were associated with significantly higher VL 1 year after HIV-1 diagnosis.
Nature medicine 08/2015; DOI:10.1038/nm.3932 · 27.36 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: An HIV-1 DNA prime vaccine, with a recombinant adenovirus type 5 (rAd5) boost, failed to protect from HIV-1 acquisition. We studied the nature of the vaccine-induced antibody (Ab) response to HIV-1 envelope (Env). HIV-1-reactive plasma Ab titers were higher to Env gp41 than to gp120, and repertoire analysis demonstrated that 93% of HIV-1-reactive Abs from memory B cells responded to Env gp41. Vaccine-induced gp41-reactive monoclonal antibodies were non-neutralizing and frequently polyreactive with host and environmental antigens, including intestinal microbiota (IM). Next-generation sequencing of an immunoglobulin heavy chain variable region repertoire before vaccination revealed an Env-IM cross-reactive Ab that was clonally related to a subsequent vaccine-induced gp41-reactive Ab. Thus, HIV-1 Env DNA-rAd5 vaccine induced a dominant IM-polyreactive, non-neutralizing gp41-reactive Ab repertoire response that was associated with no vaccine efficacy.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Advances in flow cytometry and other single-cell technologies have enabled high-dimensional, high-throughput measurements of individual cells as well as the interrogation of cell population heterogeneity. However, in many instances, computational tools to analyze the wealth of data generated by these technologies are lacking. Here, we present a computational framework for unbiased combinatorial polyfunctionality analysis of antigen-specific T-cell subsets (COMPASS). COMPASS uses a Bayesian hierarchical framework to model all observed cell subsets and select those most likely to have antigen-specific responses. Cell-subset responses are quantified by posterior probabilities, and human subject-level responses are quantified by two summary statistics that describe the quality of an individual's polyfunctional response and can be correlated directly with clinical outcome. Using three clinical data sets of cytokine production, we demonstrate how COMPASS improves characterization of antigen-specific T cells and reveals cellular 'correlates of protection/immunity' in the RV144 HIV vaccine efficacy trial that are missed by other methods. COMPASS is available as open-source software.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Tenofovir gel is being evaluated for vaginal and rectal pre-exposure prophylaxis against HIV transmission. Because this is a new prevention strategy, we broadly assessed its effects on the mucosa. In MTN-007, a phase-1, randomized, double-blinded rectal microbicide trial, we used systems genomics/proteomics to determine the effect of tenofovir 1% gel, nonoxynol-9 2% gel, placebo gel or no treatment on rectal biopsies (15 subjects/arm). We also treated primary vaginal epithelial cells from four healthy women with tenofovir in vitro. After seven days of administration, tenofovir 1% gel had broad-ranging effects on the rectal mucosa, which were more pronounced than, but different from, those of the detergent nonoxynol-9. Tenofovir suppressed anti-inflammatory mediators, increased T cell densities, caused mitochondrial dysfunction, altered regulatory pathways of cell differentiation and survival, and stimulated epithelial cell proliferation. The breadth of mucosal changes induced by tenofovir indicates that its safety over longer-term topical use should be carefully monitored.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Defining the components of an HIV immunogen that could induce effective CD8+ T cell responses is critical to vaccine development. We addressed this question by investigating the viral targets of CD8+ T cells that potently inhibit HIV replication in vitro, as this is highly predictive of virus control in vivo. We observed broad and potent ex vivo CD8+ T cell-mediated viral inhibitory activity against a panel of HIV isolates among viremic controllers (VC, viral loads <5000 copies/ml), in contrast to unselected HIV-infected HIV Vaccine trials Network (HVTN) participants. Viral inhibition of clade-matched HIV isolates was strongly correlated with the frequency of CD8+ T cells targeting vulnerable regions within Gag, Pol, Nef and Vif that had been identified in an independent study of nearly 1000 chronically infected individuals. These vulnerable and so-called "beneficial" regions were of low entropy overall, yet several were not predicted by stringent conservation algorithms. Consistent with this, stronger inhibition of clade-matched than mismatched viruses was observed in the majority of subjects, indicating better targeting of clade-specific than conserved epitopes. The magnitude of CD8+ T cell responses to beneficial regions, together with viral entropy and HLA class I genotype, explained up to 59% of the variation in viral inhibitory activity, with magnitude of the T cell response making the strongest unique contribution. However, beneficial regions were infrequently targeted by CD8+ T cells elicited by vaccines encoding full-length HIV proteins, when the latter were administered to healthy volunteers and HIV-positive ART-treated subjects, suggesting that immunodominance hierarchies undermine effective anti-HIV CD8+ T cell responses. Taken together, our data support HIV immunogen design that is based on systematic selection of empirically defined vulnerable regions within the viral proteome, with exclusion of immunodominant decoy epitopes that are irrelevant for HIV control.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background:
Antiretroviral preexposure prophylaxis (PrEP), using daily oral combination tenofovir disoproxil fumarate plus emtricitabine, is an effective human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) prevention strategy for populations at high risk of HIV acquisition. Although the primary mode of action for the protective effect of PrEP is probably direct antiviral activity, nonhuman primate studies suggest that PrEP may also allow for development of HIV-specific immune responses, hypothesized to result from aborted HIV infections providing a source of immunologic priming. We sought to evaluate whether PrEP affects the development of HIV-specific immune response in humans.
Methods and results:
Within a PrEP clinical trial among high-risk heterosexual African men and women, we detected HIV-specific CD4(+) and CD8(+) peripheral blood T-cell responses in 10%-20% of 247 subjects evaluated. The response rate and magnitude of T-cell responses did not vary significantly between those assigned PrEP versus placebo, and no significant difference between those assigned PrEP and placebo was observed in measures of innate immune function.
We found no evidence to support the hypothesis that PrEP alters either the frequency or magnitude of HIV-specific immune responses in HIV-1-exposed seronegative individuals. These results suggest that PrEP is unlikely to serve as an immunologic prime to aid protection by a putative HIV vaccine.
The Journal of Infectious Diseases 12/2014; 211(12). DOI:10.1093/infdis/jiu815 · 6.00 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background:
A heightened proinflammatory state has been hypothesized to enhance human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) transmission - both susceptibility of HIV-1-exposed persons and infectiousness of HIV-1-infected persons.
Using prospective data from heterosexual African couples with HIV-1 serodiscordance, we conducted a nested case-control analysis to assess the relationship between cytokine concentrations and the risk of HIV-1 acquisition. Case couples (n = 120) were initially serodiscordant couples in which HIV-1 was transmitted to the seronegative partner during the study; control couples (n = 321) were serodiscordant couples in which HIV-1 was not transmitted to the seronegative partner. Differences in a panel of 30 cytokines were measured using plasma specimens from both HIV-1-susceptible and HIV-1-infected partners. Plasma was collected before seroconversion for cases.
For both HIV-1-infected and HIV-1-susceptible partners, cases and controls had significantly different mean responses in cytokine panels (P < .001, by the Hotelling T(2) test), suggesting a broadly different pattern of immune activation for couples in which HIV-1 was transmitted, compared with couples without transmission. Individually, log10 mean concentrations of interleukin 10 (IL-10) and CXCL10 were significantly higher for both HIV-1-susceptible and HIV-1-infected case partners, compared with HIV-1-susceptible and HIV-1-infected control partners (P < .01 for all comparisons). In multivariate analysis, HIV-1 transmission was significantly associated with elevated CXCL10 concentrations in HIV-1-susceptible partners (P = .001) and with elevated IL-10 concentrations in HIV-1-infected partners (P = .02).
Immune activation, as measured by levels of cytokine markers, particularly elevated levels of IL-10 and CXCL1, are associated with increased HIV-1 susceptibility and infectiousness.
The Journal of Infectious Diseases 11/2014; 211(9). DOI:10.1093/infdis/jiu621 · 6.00 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background
Elevated risk of HIV-1 infection among recipients of an adenovirus serotype 5 (Ad5)-vectored HIV-1 vaccine was previously reported in the Step HIV-1 vaccine efficacy trial. We assessed pre-infection cellular immune responses measured at 4 weeks after the second vaccination to determine their roles in HIV-1 infection susceptibility among Step study male participants.
We examined ex vivo interferon-γ (IFN-γ) secretion from peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) using an ELISpot assay in 112 HIV-infected and 962 uninfected participants. In addition, we performed flow cytometric assays to examine T-cell activation, and ex vivo IFN-γ and interleukin-2 secretion from CD4+ and CD8+ T cells. We accounted for the sub-sampling design in Cox proportional hazards models to estimate hazard ratios (HRs) of HIV-1 infection per 1-loge increase of the immune responses.
We found that HIV-specific immune responses were not associated with risk of HIV-1 infection. However, each 1-loge increase of mock responses measured by the ELISpot assay (i.e., IFN-γ secretion in the absence of antigen-specific stimulation) was associated with a 62% increase of HIV-1 infection risk among vaccine recipients (HR = 1.62, 95% CI: (1.28, 2.04), p<0.001). This association remains after accounting for CD4+ or CD8+ T-cell activation. We observed a moderate correlation between ELISpot mock responses and CD4+ T-cells secreting IFN-γ (ρ = 0.33, p = 0.007). In addition, the effect of the Step vaccine on infection risk appeared to vary with ELISpot mock response levels, especially among participants who had pre-existing anti-Ad5 antibodies (interaction p = 0.04).
The proportion of cells, likely CD4+ T-cells, producing IFN-γ without stimulation by exogenous antigen appears to carry information beyond T-cell activation and baseline characteristics that predict risk of HIV-1 infection. These results motivate additional investigation to understand the potential link between IFN-γ secretion and underlying causes of elevated HIV-1 infection risk among vaccine recipients in the Step study.
PLoS ONE 11/2014; 9(11):e108631. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0108631 · 3.23 Impact Factor