Simian-human immunodeficiency viruses (SHIVs) that mirror natural transmitted/founder (T/F) viruses in man are needed for evaluation of HIV-1 vaccine candidates in nonhuman primates. Currently available SHIVs contain HIV-1 env genes from chronically-infected individuals and do not reflect the characteristics of biologically relevant HIV-1 strains that mediate human transmission. We chose to develop clade C SHIVs, as clade C is the major infecting subtype of HIV-1 in the world. We constructed 10 clade C SHIVs expressing Env proteins from T/F viruses. Three of these ten clade C SHIVs (SHIV KB9 C3, SHIV KB9 C4 and SHIV KB9 C5) replicated in naïve rhesus monkeys. These three SHIVs are mucosally transmissible and are neutralized by sCD4 and several HIV-1 broadly neutralizing antibodies. However, like natural T/F viruses, they exhibit low Env reactivity and a Tier 2 neutralization sensitivity. Of note, none of the clade C T/F SHIVs elicited detectable autologous neutralizing antibodies in the infected monkeys, even though antibodies that neutralized a heterologous Tier 1 HIV-1 were generated. Challenge with these three new clade C SHIVs will provide biologically relevant tests for vaccine protection in rhesus macaques.
Asmal, M., Luedemann, C., Lavine, C. L., Mach, L. V., Balachandran, H., Brinkley, C., … Santra, S. (2015). Infection of monkeys by simian-human immunodeficiency viruses with transmitted/founder clade c hiv-1 envelopes. Virology, 475, 37–45. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.virol.2014.10.032