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Cutaneous and Mucosal HIV Vaccination
Framework programme:
Project number:
EC contribution:
€ 11,929,250
60 months
Funding scheme :
Large-Scale Integrated Project
Starting date:
Project Web site:

Keywords: HIV vaccine, cutaneous vaccination, mucosal vaccination, vaccine strategy, AIDS, needle-free vaccination, clinical trial, transcutaneous route, HIV antigen, delivery system, infectious disease, poverty-related disease


HIV/AIDS is one of the greatest health challenges the world faces today. Despite significant efforts over the past decade to design new vaccines including inactivated-live virus, peptides, proteins or non-replicative vectors, a truly effective HIV vaccine is not yet at hand. Many problems must still be overcome: some relate to the specific properties and the diversity of the virus, others to the definition of immune correlates, or the lack of appropriate small animal models. Thus, the devastating consequences of HIV for both individuals and society make the development of safe, effective and easily administrated vaccines a critical priority in the overall plan to contain the global AIDS epidemic.

Aims and expected results

The CUT'HIVAC project aims at assessing a new HIV vaccine strategy to prevent and control HIV infection based on transcutaneous and/or mucosal routes and immunogen delivery systems to preferentially promote and redirect immune responses towards high level of mucosal Abs and effector CD8 cell responses directed against various HIV antigens. Taking advantage of new genetic and immunological information provided by scientific, industrial and academic partners, CUT'HIVAC will design, develop and validate innovative immunogens and delivery systems as well as immunisation methods. Clinical trials will be implemented with the last cutting-edge generation of HIV DNA-GTU® candidate applied by transcutaneous, intradermal routes and/or mucosal administration of HIV-envelope protein-based vaccine. Much work will be carried out on the new genetic design of HIV antigens and delivery systems for developed and developing countries. These new vaccines will be tested in innovative preclinical approaches with a special highlight on routes of vaccination that will be translated into second-round clinical trials from a perspective that could help to prevent and eradicate HIV. The project also aims at rapidly translating preclinical approaches into prophylactic and therapeutic clinical trials in developed and developing countries.

The project will shed light on our understanding of the mechanisms of vaccine penetration in skin and mucosa, and will highlight their impact on the quality of immune responses. Based on strong scientific knowledge of HIV disease and new technical approaches in the field of vaccinology, CUT'HIVAC will redesign efficient vaccine candidates to provide the basis for the introduction of entirely novel vaccination systems into the clinic. Through its integrative and multidisciplinary approach, CUT'HIVAC will therefore provide the basis for a novel approach in vaccination with a view to widening its application to other infectious diseases such as malaria and tuberculosis.

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