Estimating the Benefit of an HIV-1 Vaccine That Reduces Viral Load Set Point

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Vaccines designed to induce cell-mediated immune responses against human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-1 are being developed. Such vaccines are unlikely to provide sterilizing immunity but may be associated with reduced viral set points after infection. We modeled the potential impact of a vaccine that reduces viral set point after infection, using natural history data from 311 HIV-1 seroconverters. Log-normal parametric regression models were used to estimate the log median time to events of interest. Relative times were estimated for those with viral load set points of 30,000 copies/mL (reference group) versus those with lower viral set points. The time to key clinical events in the course of HIV-1 disease progression was significantly extended for those with viral set points 0.5-1.25 log10 copies/mL lower than the reference group. By quantifying the anticipated clinical benefits associated with a reduction in viral set point, these findings support the use of virologic end points in HIV-1 vaccine trials.

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