The human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) affects 34 million adults and children worldwide, and the ongoing spread of the epidemic resulted in about 2.5 million new infections and 1.7 million deaths in 2011 alone. Novel approaches to prevent transmission of HIV-1 are urgently needed to stop the epidemic. To date, prophylactic vaccines have proven to be the most efficient means to counteract the spread of human pathogens and increase global human health. However, the design of preventive vaccines against some infectious agents, including HIV-1, remains a tremendous challenge.
HIV-1 superinfection has gained increasing attention as it provides a unique opportunity, aside from vaccine trials, to determine the immune factors promoting protection from HIV-1 infection. The increasing amount of documented HIV-1 superinfections in the literature suggests that the adaptive immune response mounted upon a primary infection with a single HIV-1 strain might not be effective enough at protecting against a distinct HIV-1 strain, even a closely related one.(Stephanie Jost, Lessons from Viral Superinfections for HIV-1 Vaccine Design)
Last date updated on July, 2014