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Generation of a Coronavirus-Based Multigene AIDS Vaccine and Evaluation in a Preclinical SIV model
Framework programme:
Project number:
EC contribution:
€ 958,000
24 Months
Starting date:
1st December 2006

Keywords: HIV, Dendritic Cells, Vaccination and Coronavirus


Coronaviruses spread via mucosal surfaces and can infect dendritic cells (DCs). These features and their exceptional transcription strategy make them extremely promising candidate vaccine vectors to overcome known problems of current HIV vaccine approaches. The National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, USA, have granted to Partner 1, support to pursue this line of research in the murine coronavirus system due to its innovation potential and since researchers from the US have not yet started to work in this direction.

The European perspective of this project is to promote further, this specific line of research in Europe in order to pave the way for the generation of coronavirus-based HIV vaccines in humans. The AIDS-CoVAC consortium aims to generate a novel coronavirus-based HIV vaccine vector, optimised for host entry by targeting specialised antigen-presenting cells, namely DCs. Recombinant coronavirus vectors in the context of a simian model could serve as a paradigm for the development and evaluation of coronavirus-based HIV vaccines.

The consortium consists of three scientific partners with well-matched, complementary expertise and resources. Covering:

  • The knowledge on coronavirus biology, reverse genetics and vector construction
  • Ample expertise on DC-based vaccination in murine models and clinical trials
  • State-of-the-art technology to assess vector-DC interactions
  • Comprehensive experience for the evaluation of candidate AIDS vaccines, in preclinical studies in monkeys
  • Animal research facilities

The collaborative and complementary research is divided into two scientific Work Packages. WP1 involves the determination of the best suitable coronavirus spike protein for optimal vector entry into simian DCs and the analysis of vector-DC interactions. WP2 will assess the gene transfer into simian DCs in vitro and the efficacy of this vaccination approach in vivo.

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