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      Safety and immunogenicity of two heterologous HIV vaccine regimens in healthy, HIV-uninfected adults (TRAVERSE): a randomised, parallel-group, placebo-controlled, double-blind, phase 1/2a study

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          Bioinformatically designed mosaic antigens increase the breadth of HIV vaccine-elicited immunity. This study compared the safety, tolerability, and immunogenicity of a newly developed, tetravalent Ad26 vaccine with the previously tested trivalent formulation.


          This randomised, parallel-group, placebo-controlled, double-blind, phase 1/2a study (TRAVERSE) was done at 11 centres in the USA and one centre in Rwanda. Eligible participants were adults aged 18 to 50 years, who were HIV-uninfected, healthy at screening based on their medical history and a physical examination including laboratory assessment and vital sign measurements, and at low risk of HIV infection in the opinion of study staff, who applied a uniform definition of low-risk guidelines that was aligned across sites. Enrolled participants were randomly assigned at a 2:1 ratio to tetravalent and trivalent groups. Participants in tetravalent and trivalent groups were then further randomly assigned at a 5:1 ratio to adenovirus 26 (Ad26)-vectored vaccine and placebo subgroups. Randomisation was stratified by region (USA and Rwanda) and based on a computer-generated schedule using randomly permuted blocks prepared under the sponsor's supervision. We masked participants and investigators to treatment allocation throughout the study. On day 0, participants received a first injection of tetravalent vaccine (Ad26.Mos4.HIV or placebo) or trivalent vaccine (Ad26.Mos.HIV or placebo), and those injections were repeated 12 weeks later. At week 24, vaccine groups received a third dose of tetravalent or trivalent together with clade C gp140, and this was repeated at week 48, with placebos again administered to the placebo group. All study vaccines and placebo were administered by intramuscular injection in the deltoid muscle. We assessed adverse events in all participants who received at least one study injection (full analysis set) and Env-specific binding antibodies in all participants who received at least the first three vaccinations according to the protocol-specified vaccination schedule, had at least one measured post-dose blood sample collected, and were not diagnosed with HIV during the study (per-protocol set). This study is registered with Clinicaltrials.gov, NCT02788045.


          Of 201 participants who were enrolled and randomly assigned, 198 received the first vaccination: 110 were in the tetravalent group, 55 in the trivalent group, and 33 in the placebo group. Overall, 185 (93%) completed two scheduled vaccinations per protocol, 180 (91%) completed three, and 164 (83%) completed four. Solicited, self-limiting local, systemic reactogenicity and unsolicited adverse events were similar in vaccine groups and higher than in placebo groups. All participants in the per-protocol set developed clade C Env binding antibodies after the second vaccination, with higher total IgG titres after the tetravalent vaccine than after the trivalent vaccine (10 413 EU/mL, 95% CI 7284–14 886 in the tetravalent group compared with 5494 EU/mL, 3759–8029 in the trivalent group). Titres further increased after the third and fourth vaccinations, persisting at least through week 72. Other immune responses were also higher with the tetravalent vaccine, including the magnitude and breadth of binding antibodies against a cross-clade panel of Env antigens, and the magnitude of IFNγ ELISPOT responses (median 521 SFU/10 6 peripheral blood mononuclear cells [PBMCs] in the tetravalent group and median 282 SFU/10 6 PBMCs in the trivalent group after the fourth vaccination) and Env-specific CD4+ T-cell response rates after the third and fourth vaccinations. No interference by pre-existing Ad26 immunity was identified.


          The tetravalent vaccine regimen was generally safe, well-tolerated, and found to elicit higher immune responses than the trivalent regimen. Regimens that use this tetravalent vaccine component are being advanced into field trials to assess efficacy against HIV-1 infection.


          National Institutes of Health, Henry M Jackson Foundation for Advancement of Military Medicine and the US Department of Defense, Ragon Institute of MGH, MIT, & Harvard, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and Janssen Vaccines & Prevention.

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          Polyvalent vaccines for optimal coverage of potential T-cell epitopes in global HIV-1 variants.

          HIV-1/AIDS vaccines must address the extreme diversity of HIV-1. We have designed new polyvalent vaccine antigens comprised of sets of 'mosaic' proteins, assembled from fragments of natural sequences via a computational optimization method. Mosaic proteins resemble natural proteins, and a mosaic set maximizes the coverage of potential T-cell epitopes (peptides of nine amino acids) for a viral population. We found that coverage of viral diversity using mosaics was greatly increased compared to coverage by natural-sequence vaccine candidates, for both variable and conserved proteins; for conserved HIV-1 proteins, global coverage may be feasible. For example, four mosaic proteins perfectly matched 74% of 9-amino-acid potential epitopes in global Gag sequences; 87% of potential epitopes matched at least 8 of 9 positions. In contrast, a single natural Gag protein covered only 37% (9 of 9) and 67% (8 of 9). Mosaics provide diversity coverage comparable to that afforded by thousands of separate peptides, but, because the fragments of natural proteins are compressed into a small number of native-like proteins, they are tractable for vaccines.
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            Protective efficacy of a global HIV-1 mosaic vaccine against heterologous SHIV challenges in rhesus monkeys.

            The global diversity of HIV-1 represents a critical challenge facing HIV-1 vaccine development. HIV-1 mosaic antigens are bioinformatically optimized immunogens designed for improved coverage of HIV-1 diversity. However, the protective efficacy of such global HIV-1 vaccine antigens has not previously been evaluated. Here, we demonstrate the capacity of bivalent HIV-1 mosaic antigens to protect rhesus monkeys against acquisition of infection following heterologous challenges with the difficult-to-neutralize simian-human immunodeficiency virus SHIV-SF162P3. Adenovirus/poxvirus and adenovirus/adenovirus vector-based vaccines expressing HIV-1 mosaic Env, Gag, and Pol afforded a significant reduction in the per-exposure acquisition risk following repetitive, intrarectal SHIV-SF162P3 challenges. Protection against acquisition of infection correlated with vaccine-elicited binding, neutralizing, and functional nonneutralizing antibodies, suggesting that the coordinated activity of multiple antibody functions may contribute to protection against difficult-to-neutralize viruses. These data demonstrate the protective efficacy of HIV-1 mosaic antigens and suggest a potential strategy for the development of a global HIV-1 vaccine. PAPERCLIP: Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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              Mosaic HIV-1 Vaccines Expand the Breadth and Depth of Cellular Immune Responses in Rhesus Monkeys

              The worldwide diversity of HIV-1 presents an unprecedented challenge for vaccine development 1-2. Antigens derived from natural HIV-1 sequences have elicited only limited breadth of cellular immune responses in nonhuman primate studies and clinical trials to date. Polyvalent “mosaic” antigens, in contrast, are designed to optimize cellular immunologic coverage of global HIV-1 sequence diversity 3. Here we show that mosaic HIV-1 Gag, Pol, and Env antigens expressed by recombinant, replication-incompetent adenovirus serotype 26 vectors markedly augmented both the breadth and depth without compromising the magnitude of antigen-specific T lymphocyte responses as compared with consensus or natural sequence HIV-1 antigens in rhesus monkeys. Polyvalent mosaic antigens therefore represent a promising strategy to expand cellular immunologic vaccine coverage for genetically diverse pathogens such as HIV-1.

                Author and article information

                Lancet HIV
                The Lancet. HIV
                Elsevier B.V
                30 September 2020
                October 2020
                30 September 2020
                : 7
                : 10
                : e688-e698
                [a ]Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA
                [b ]Janssen Vaccines & Prevention, Leiden, Netherlands
                [c ]Janssen Vaccines, Bern, Switzerland
                [d ]Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA
                [e ]Department of Surgery and Duke Human Vaccine Institute, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC, USA
                [f ]Vaccine and Infectious Disease Division, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, WA, USA
                [g ]Ragon Institute of MGH, MIT, and Harvard, Cambridge, MA, USA
                [h ]Janssen Infectious Diseases, Beerse, Belgium
                [i ]Division of Infectious Disease, Department of Medicine, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL, USA
                [j ]Hope Clinic of the Emory Vaccine Center, Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA, USA
                [k ]Rwanda Zambia HIV Research Group, Kigali, Rwanda
                [l ]Janssen Research and Development, Titusville, NJ, USA
                Author notes
                [* ]Correspondence to: Dr Lindsey R Baden, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA lbaden@ 123456bwh.harvard.edu

                Joint lead authors

                © 2020 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is a Gold Open Access article under the CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 license

                This is an open access article under the CC BY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).



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