Here we provide the first report of protection against a vaginal challenge with a highly virulent simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) by using a vaccine vector. New poliovirus vectors based on Sabin 1 and 2 vaccine strain viruses were constructed, and these vectors were used to generate a series of new viruses containing SIV gag, pol, env, nef, and tat in overlapping fragments. Two cocktails of 20 transgenic polioviruses (SabRV1-SIV and SabRV2-SIV) were inoculated into seven cynomolgus macaques. All monkeys produced substantial anti-SIV serum and mucosal antibody responses. SIV-specific cytotoxic T-lymphocyte responses were detected in three of seven monkeys after vaccination. All 7 vaccinated macaques, as well as 12 control macaques, were challenged vaginally with pathogenic SIVmac251. Strikingly, four of the seven vaccinated animals exhibited substantial protection against the vaginal SIV challenge. All 12 control monkeys became SIV positive. In two of the seven SabRV-SIV-vaccinated monkeys we found no virological evidence of infection following challenge, indicating that these two monkeys were completely protected. Two additional SabRV-SIV-vaccinated monkeys exhibited a pronounced reduction in postacute viremia to <103 copies/ml, suggesting that the vaccine elicited an effective cellular immune response. Three of six control animals developed clinical AIDS by 48 weeks postchallenge. In contrast, all seven vaccinated monkeys remained healthy as judged by all clinical parameters. These results demonstrate the efficacy of SabRV as a potential human vaccine vector, and they show that the use of a vaccine vector cocktail expressing an array of defined antigenic sequences can be an effective vaccination strategy in an outbred population.
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