Imperfect vaccines and herd immunity to HIV

TitleImperfect vaccines and herd immunity to HIV
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1993
AuthorsMcLean, AR, Blower SM
JournalProc Biol Sci
KeywordsHIV, Vaccines

A number of prophylactic vaccines against human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) have passed through phase I clinical trials, and phase II clinical trials are now being planned. These vaccines are not expected to be perfect and might fail in a number of different ways. This paper shows how to equate different aspects of imperfection in a prophylactic vaccine in terms of impact upon levels of herd immunity, and hence upon the vaccine coverage required for eradication. Such comparisons reveal that an otherwise perfect vaccine that gives protection which wanes with a half-life of 10 years is only as good as a vaccine that works in 30% of people giving them complete, lifelong protection. The paper goes on to compare predicted patterns of seroconversion that would be observed in clinical trials and in community-wide vaccination campaigns for vaccines that confer the same levels of herd immunity but are imperfect in different ways.