March 5, 2024

IAVI and partners kick-start CELEBRATE study to explore acceptability and feasibility of bnAbs for infant HIV prevention 

Study focuses on socio-behavioral research to enhance understanding of preferences and factors influencing bnAb adoption for infant indication.

Celebrate Study Team
CELEBRATE study team outside the South African Medical Research Council after a site visit in December 2023.

IAVI, a non-profit organization dedicated to accelerating the development of vaccines and antibodies against infectious diseases, has announced the commencement of the CELEBRATE study, aimed at understanding the acceptability and feasibility of utilizing broadly neutralizing antibodies (bnAbs) for the prevention of HIV acquisition in infants. The study marks a significant step forward in the quest to eliminate vertical transmission of HIV, offering hope for new preventive measures beyond the current standard of care.

Conducted in collaboration with the Family Centre for Research with Ubuntu in Cape Town, the South African Medical Research Council in Durban, and the Uganda Virus Research Institute — IAVI HIV Vaccine Programme in Entebbe, the CELEBRATE study (aCcEptabiLity and fEasibility of bnAbs foR infAnT HIV Prevention in South Africa and Uganda) has officially kicked off its data collection phase. CELEBRATE is supported by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) through the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) under IAVI’s ADVANCE program.

The CELEBRATE study embarks on an exploratory socio-behavioral research journey, gathering insights from a diverse group of stakeholders including mothers, caregivers, partners, family members, health care providers, and policymakers. The objective is to enhance understanding of preferences for bnAb prevention product attributes and to identify factors that influence the adoption of these products for post-natal prophylaxis. Moreover, the study will seek to understand special considerations for administering bnAbs to infants in the post-natal period, tackling challenges, perceived benefits, and feasibility considerations, as well as understanding key health system and programmatic perspectives on introducing bnAbs for post-natal prophylaxis in Uganda and South Africa.

Antiretroviral therapy (ART) has significantly improved the health outcomes for people living with HIV, yet challenges remain in preventing vertical transmission, especially in sub-Saharan Africa where the burden is heaviest. Evidence has shown that there remain challenges to access, initiation, and adherence to maternal ART for the prevention of vertical transmission in high HIV-prevalence settings. Broadly neutralizing antibodies represent a promising new frontier in the prevention of HIV transmission from mother to child. These antibodies have the potential to provide several weeks of protection for infants at high risk of acquiring HIV, closing gaps in the prevention cascade that current interventions cannot address.

The CELEBRATE study is poised to contribute valuable insights into the potential of bnAbs as a viable option for post-natal prophylaxis. By engaging with key stakeholders across South Africa and Uganda, the study aims to build a comprehensive understanding of the complexities surrounding the adoption and implementation of bnAb prevention products. This includes examining the safety, efficacy, and acceptability of bnAbs, informed by the lived experiences of those most affected by HIV and the health care providers serving them.

CELEBRATE underscores the importance of IAVI’s multi-disciplinary approach to public health challenges, integrating scientific research with socio-behavioral insights to pave the way for new solutions in HIV prevention.