BACKGROUNDClade C is the predominant HIV-1 strain infecting people in sub-Saharan Africa, India, and China and there is a critical need for a vaccine targeted to these areas. In this study we tested a DNA based vaccine that encodes the SIVgag, SIVpol and HIV-1 envelope clade C.METHODSRhesus macaques were immunized by electroporation with the DNA plasmid encoding optimized SIVgag, SIVpol and an HIV-1 env clade C with or without the adjuvant RANTES. Animals were monitored for immune responses and challenged following the final immunization with 25 animal infectious doses (AID) of SHIV-1157ipd3N4.RESULTSWe found that the vaccine induced high levels of antigen specific IFN-γ producing effector cells and the capacity for CD4+ and CD8+ to proliferate upon antigen stimulation. Importantly, we found that the vaccine induced antibody titers as high as 1/4000. These antibodies were capable of neutralizing tier 1 HIV-1 viruses. Finally, when macaques were challenged with SHIV, viral loads were controlled in vaccinated groups.CONCLUSIONWe conclude that immunization with a simian/human immunodeficiency virus DNA-based vaccine delivered by electroporation can induce cellular and humoral immune responses that are able to control viral replication.