There are currently 2 million people living with HIV in India, and there were an estimated 80,000 new infections in the country in 2016, according to the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS). Recognizing the need for research and clinical trial capability that addresses the particular needs of the Indian population and the subtypes of HIV that predominate in India, the HIV Vaccine Translational Research (HVTR) Laboratory at the Translational Health Science and Technology Institute (THSTI) NCR Biotech Science Cluster in Faridabad, Haryana, India, was established as a joint initiative between the Department of Biotechnology, THSTI, and IAVI. The HVTR is working to design and evaluate preventive HIV vaccines, particularly ones that elicit an immune response capable of neutralizing a broad spectrum of HIV variants. The HVTR is part of the Indian government’s effort to create regional centers of scientific excellence to help address the burgeoning disease burden in the country.
As an IAVI Neutralizing Antibody Center (NAC)-collaborating Center of Excellence, the laboratory plays a crucial role in spurring indigenous antibody discovery and preclinical development efforts, promoting industry collaboration on promising prevention products. The lab has established strategic partnerships with academic and industry partners in India and abroad. IAVI, THSTI, and HVTR’s leadership advocates with the Indian government and policymakers to maintain HIV prevention and HIV vaccine research at the forefront of the nation’s healthcare agenda.
The HVTR comprises an interdisciplinary group of scientists with varied educational backgrounds and experience in virology, protein design, and engineering, as well as antibody discovery and characterization. The team has built diverse skill sets in several areas to drive research in antibody discovery and vaccine development.