What you need to know:
- One of the participants, Dr Bernard Kulohoma from International Aids Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) in Kenya said the major objective of the gathering was strengthening the capacity of scientists across the ADVANCE network in Africa and India in the development of HIV Vaccine.
Scientists have said they are focusing the HIV vaccine research efforts towards studying types of the virus prevalent in Uganda.
According to the scientists from the Medical Research Council/Uganda Virus Research Institute and London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (MRC/UVRI/LSHTM), the types of HIV prevalent in Uganda had not been fully studied.
“We have generated data that shows a significant increase in the contemporary viruses from the sub types or recombinant (mixed with a bit of A, B or C),” Assistant Professor Sheila Balinda at MRC/UVRI/LSHTM said on Friday.
She was speaking at UVRI head office in Entebbe on Friday as the Institute hosted scientists under the Accelerate the Development of Vaccines and New Technologies to Combat the Aids Epidemic (ADVANCE) Programme to discuss the future of HIV vaccine research.
Assist Prof Balinda stressed that the purpose of the research was to “understand the types prevalent in Uganda, and compare how they behave at a genetic level and phenotypic level to establish how different their genes are, compared to what has been studied before.” She added: “Previously, emphasis was on sub type B, which is in the western world as well as sub type C prevalent in Southern Africa and India.”
Assist Prof Balinda cited the initial challenge as capacity building, which has since been overcome with putting in place of modern facilities, including laboratories that meet international standards, and development of cloning skills “whereby they can now let the virus grow so as to be studied outside the body in tissue culture.”
One of the participants, Dr Bernard Kulohoma from International Aids Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) in Kenya said the major objective of the gathering was strengthening the capacity of scientists across the ADVANCE network in Africa and India in the development of HIV Vaccine.
“We use such gatherings for networking and learning about state-of-the-art HIV research to strengthen capacity in science and soft skills. The network spans across clinical research centres in Kenya, Zambia, Rwanda, South Africa, Uganda and partner institutes in India,” he said.
The ADVANCE programme is designed to enhance research capacities in Africa and India.
Within the framework, the Leadership Development Programme (LDP) aspires to cultivate a strong network of researchers and scientists in African and Indian institutions who are contributing to the global effort to identify, evaluate, and implement HIV vaccines and biomedical prevention products.