The goal of the VIAV programme is to develop a novel, broadly effective
HIV/AIDS vaccine based on HIV Tat and Env protein complexes. VIAV is built upon
an international consortium of European experts in the fields of HIV/AIDS
protein structure and molecular modelling/docking, biochemistry, molecular
biology, virology, immunology, vaccine development, GMP production, trial
conduction and field studies.
Results obtained by the VIAV Consortium indicate that the HIV Tat protein
increases HIV cell adsorption, infectivity and tropisms by interacting with
components of the HIV membrane and envelope protein (Env). Because the
interaction between Tat and Env may allow the generation of complex-specific,
neutralisation-sensitive epitopes and/or the stabilisation of cryptic and/or
transiently exposed Env epitopes, a vaccine based on Tat-Env complexes is likely
to generate protective immune responses against vulnerable viral targets.
The aim of VIAV is to develop a highly innovative Tat-Env complex-based
vaccine capable of inducing cross-clade neutralising antibodies against novel,
neutralisation-sensitive Env epitopes to prevent HIV infection and/or AIDS
progression. The VIAV aim will be achieved through new antigen design stemming
out from novel virological, immunological and modeling data of the VIAV
The VIAV project will allow the identification of novel HIV/AIDS vaccine
immunogens and formulations for the induction of broad immunity against HIV.
Tat-Env complexes will be characterised and used to immunise small animals,
where vaccination is expected to be safe and immunogenic. Neutralising antibody
responses will be also characterised and novel neutralisation-sensitive,
complex-induced epitopes will be identified.
The VIAV programme will bring specific contributions to AIDS vaccine research
and development in terms of innovative vaccine formulations. In particular, the
exploitation of novel vaccine formulations based on newly-identified/produced
protein complexes that are potentially relevant in the context of HIV natural
infection may directly result from VIAV. VIAV is an ambitious project that will
fit in the scientific effort aimed at developing innovative AIDS candidate
vaccines, based on combinations of regulatory and structural viral proteins.
VIAV is also linked to the AIDS Vaccine Integrated Project (AVIP), recently
awarded by the EU Commission, for future product development and clinical
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