IAVI Human Immunology LaboratoryThe IAVI Human Immunology Laboratory is located at Imperial College London. Photo credit: IAVI

The IAVI-Human Immunology Laboratory (HIL), based at Imperial College London, serves as the clinical immunology reference laboratory for IAVI and its research partners worldwide. As an accredited Good Clinical Laboratory Practice (GCLP) laboratory with expertise in developing and conducting immunology assays for research and clinical trials, the HIL specializes in the analysis of immune responses as part of vaccine development partnerships. The HIL applies expertise toward the development of safe and effective vaccines against a range of diseases including HIV/AIDS, Lassa, Ebola, malaria, and tuberculosis.

The HIL has containment level 2 and 3 facilities for characterization of pathogenic entities and is also a central repository for clinical samples collected from clinical and epidemiological research conducted worldwide. The HIL bio-repository has the capacity to store up to 1 million vials in liquid nitrogen or at -80°C and holds a U.K. Human Tissue Authority license. Samples and associated data are managed through an online Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS).

The HIL has played a central role in building scientific capabilities in affiliated African laboratories so that they can perform research and diagnostics activities at the same level as in developed-country settings. These partnerships have led to the establishment of fully accredited laboratories (GCLP) in developing countries, ensuring the standardization of laboratory procedures applied in vaccine trials. In addition, the HIL has helped train doctoral and master’s degree students to perform basic and clinical research on the immune system’s response to HIV infection and vaccine design.

HIL and affiliated employees are stationed in Kenya, South Africa, the U.K., and the U.S., and include epidemiologists, immunologists, and virologists. With funding from the E.U., the pharmaceutical industry, and the U.S. Agency for International Development, the HIL’s work has facilitated over 40 vaccine trials in Africa, India, and the U.S., with more underway.