vaccine trials and epidemiology studies.
The HIL team conducts immunogenicity testing to measure the capacity of different candidates to elicit immune responses aimed at protecting against HIV infection. The samples collected are tested using standardized validated assays so that data from multiple centers can be pooled and compared across candidates and studies. The team also develops novel assays for more comprehensive evaluation of immune responses to HIV vaccine candidates.
A central laboratory for the HIV Vaccine field, the HIL provides services to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Collaboration for AIDS Vaccine Discovery and the Wellcome Trust-funded UK-HIV Vaccine Consortium. Under a collaboration with the PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative, samples from Malaria Vaccine Trials are tested at the HIL as well.
The HIL’s efforts are essential to ensuring the quality and consistency of data collected in vaccine trials conducted with IAVI’s support, permitting the comparison of HIV vaccine candidates evaluated in different places and at different times. This capability is critical to making swift and scientifically informed decisions about whether or not to pursue the development of any HIV vaccine candidate designed by IAVI and its partners.
In partnership with the IAVI-supported Contract Laboratory Services team in Johannesburg, South Africa, the HIL oversees the training of scientists and technicians in IAVI’s extended network of collaborating clinical research centers in sub-Saharan Africa. With the HIL's support, nearly all of the labs in this network have received accreditation in Good Clinical Laboratory Practices, an internationally recognized badge of quality. The HIL also partners with scientists at these institutions to conduct studies on the immune system’s response to HIV infection, and has helped train their researchers in cutting-edge techniques for the evaluation of immune responses of particular importance to HIV vaccine development. These partnerships have led to the development of state of the art laboratories in developing countries, ensuring the standardization of laboratory procedures applied in IAVI-sponsored vaccine trials, and helped build human and technical capacity in Africa.