This is an online tool to explore the effects of exposure heterogeneity on HIV vaccine efficacy, given a leaky vaccine.
A potential outcome of pathogen exposure heterogeneity (i.e. variation among individuals in the risk of getting infected) is that vaccine efficacy measured from a trial (i.e. the clinical efficacy) is lower than the biological vaccine efficacy (i.e. the per-exposure or per-contact vaccine efficacy). This distinction, between the per-exposure vaccine efficacy and the clinical efficacy of the same vaccine, is the focus of this tool. Many authors have explored this issue, e.g. Halloran et al., 1992; White et al., 2010; O'Hagan et al., 2013; Edlefsen, 2014; Coley et al., 2016; Gomes et al., 2016; Kahn et al., 2018.
Here we use a simple epidemic model with exposure heterogeneity to simulate an HIV vaccine trial. Our goals are to:
- Raise awareness of the distinction between per-exposure vaccine efficacy, clinical vaccine efficacy, and population vaccine effectiveness
- Assess if this effect might contribute to the difference between the RV144, HVTN 702, and HVTN 705 vaccine trial outcomes
- Assist in the design or interpretation of HIV prevention trials, from this exposure heterogeneity perspective, and
- Use this framework as a means to explore HIV infection risk; more specifically, to delineate differences among individuals in HIV risk that is due to variation in per-exposure infection probability, HIV prevalence in a contact network, or the number of sexual contacts.
The separate tabs in this R Shiny app include:
- Model description, showing the structure of the model and the parameters included.
- Initial example plots, showing how the model works and what simulated epidemic and trial outputs we focus on.
- Parameter sweeps, which allows you to compare the impact of multiple parameter values in the same plots.
- Model fitting example, which allows you to use the model to examine specific trial results.
- Model fitting output, which shows parameter combos that are consistent with a given trial result.