Purpose of review: To summarize the role of adjuvants in eliciting desirable antibody responses against HIV-1 with particular emphasis on both historical context and recent developments.
Recent findings: Increased understanding of the role of pattern recognition receptors such as Toll-like receptors in recruiting and directing the immune system has increased the variety of adjuvant formulations being tested in animal models and humans. Across all vaccine platforms, adjuvant formulations have been shown to enhance desirable immune responses such as higher antibody titers and increased functional activity. Although no vaccine formulation has yet succeeded in eliciting broad neutralizing antibodies against HIV-1, the ability of adjuvants to direct the immune response to immunogens suggests they will be critically important in any successful HIV-1 vaccine.
Summary: The parallel development of adjuvants along with better HIV-1 immunogens will be needed for a successful AIDS vaccine. Additional comparative testing will be required to determine the optimal adjuvant and immunogen regimen that can elicit antibody responses capable of blocking HIV-1 transmission.