Subunit approaches to vaccines against viral diseases have resulted in the development of a number of methods for presentation of defined epitopes to the immune system. We have exploited a highly immunogenic presentation system based on hepatitis B core antigen (HBcAg) particles to produce a number of candidate vaccines against simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV). Recombinant particles have been produced in bacteria which carry multiple copies of defined or predicted neutralizing epitopes of SIV at a number of different sites within the particle. In parallel, a number of synthetic peptide-based SIV vaccines have been produced based on homology to reported neutralizing epitopes in human immunodeficiency virus. Although potent immune responses were elicited against both particulate and peptide forms of the antigen, neutralizing antibodies were not induced as judged by available assays.


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