Myron Essex, Mary Woodard Lasker Professor of Health Sciences
Department of Immunology and Infectious Diseases
Dates of Research:
September 1, 2000 — May 31, 2006
More than half of the current HIV infections in the world are due to HIV-1 C, a genotype that deserves more thorough analysis. The most dramatic epidemic of HIV-1 C is currently expanding in countries such as Botswana. It has been estimated that 38.5% of all pregnant women, including almost half the pregnant women between the age of 20 and 29, in Botswana are infected. Because Botswana is a democratic country with a well organized health care system, it represents an ideal partner country for vaccine development efforts aimed at curbing the expanding HIV-1 epidemic in Southern Africa. The overall goal of this project is to test the hypothesis that, despite the unusually high degree of sequence divergence found in the HIV-1 subtype C viruses circulating in the people of Botswana, conserved CTL epitopes that match the most common HLA types can be identified for HIV-1 C vaccine design. This allows for identification of HIV-1 CTL epitopes most relevant for the design of vaccines for at-risk populations in Southern Africa.