Biomarker endpoints measuring vaccine-induced immune responses are essential to HIV vaccine development because of their potential to predict the effect of a vaccine in preventing HIV infection. A vaccine’s immune response profile observed in phase I immunogenicity studies is a key factor in determining whether it is advanced for further study in phase II and III efficacy trials. The multiplicity of immune variables and scientific uncertainty in their relative importance, however, pose great challenges to the development of formal algorithms for selecting vaccines to study further. Motivated by the practical need to identify a set of promising vaccines from a pool of candidate regimens for inclusion in an upcoming HIV vaccine efficacy trial, we propose a new statistical framework for the selection of vaccine regimens based on their immune response profile. In particular, we propose superiority and non-redundancy criteria to be achieved in down-selection, and develop novel statistical algorithms that integrate hypothesis testing and ranking for selecting vaccine regimens satisfying these criteria. Performance of the proposed selection algorithms are evaluated through extensive numerical studies. We demonstrate the application of the proposed methods through the comparison of immune responses between several HIV vaccine regimens. The methods are applicable to general down-selection applications in clinical trials.

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