Breast milk transmission continues to account for a large proportion of cases of mother-to-child transmission of HIV-1 worldwide. An effective HIV-1 vaccine coupled with either passive immunization or short-term antiretroviral prophylaxis represents a potential strategy to prevent breast milk transmission. This study evaluated the safety and immunogenicity of ALVAC HIV-1 vaccine with and without a subunit envelope boost in infants born to HIV-1-infected women.Design:
Placebo-controlled, double-blinded study.Methods:
Infants born to HIV-1-infected mothers in the US were immunized with a prime-boost regimen using a canarypox virus HIV-1 vaccine (vCP1452) and a recombinant glycoprotein subunit vaccine (rgp120). Infants (n = 30) were randomized to receive: vCP1452 alone, vCP1452 + rgp120, or corresponding placebos.Results:
Local reactions were mild or moderate and no significant systemic toxicities occurred. Subjects receiving both vaccines had gp120-specific binding serum antibodies that were distinguishable from maternal antibody. Repeated gp160-specific lymphoproliferative responses were observed in 75%. Neutralizing activity to HIV-1 homologous to the vaccine strain was observed in 50% of the vCP1452 + rgp120 subjects who had lost maternal antibody by week 24. In some infants HIV-1-specific proliferative and antibody responses persisted until week 104. HIV-1-specific cytotoxic T lymphocyte responses were detected in two subjects in each treatment group; the frequency of HIV-1 specific cytotoxic T lymphocyte responses did not differ between vaccine and placebo recipients.Conclusion:
The demonstration of vaccine-induced immune responses in early infancy supports further study of HIV-1 vaccination as a strategy to reduce breast milk transmission.