IAVI opens southern Africa regional office

IAVI recently launched a new program in Johannesburg, South Africa, to support expanding AIDS vaccine research, development, and advocacy efforts for southern Africa. The global public-private partnership already operates several regional offices worldwide in Nairobi, Kenya; New Delhi, India; Amsterdam, the Netherlands; and New York City where the headquarters is located. The Johannesburg offices will provide an opportunity for IAVI to work closely with existing partners and programs in southern Africa, including the South African AIDS Vaccine Initiative (SAAVI), the Medical Research Council (MRC), the Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation in Cape Town, the Zambia-Emory HIV Research Project, the Medical University of South Africa, the University of Limpopo, and the Perinatal HIV Research Unit at the University of Witwatersrand.

In an editorial published in South Africa's Business Day, Chief Executive Officer of IAVI Seth Berkley said that the new regional office will serve as a focal point for expanding AIDS vaccine programs and activities in southern Africa and will take advantage of the region's "growing biomedical capabilities, strong regulatory systems and manufacturing base" to build capacity to conduct clinical trials to the highest standards.

South Africa is already hosting several HIV prevention studies, including a large Phase III microbicide trial and multiple AIDS vaccine trials. Last year IAVI initiated a Phase II AIDS vaccine trial there and in Zambia with several partner organizations to evaluate the safety and immunogenicity of an adeno-associated virus vaccine candidate known as tgAAC09 that is based on clade C HIV, which is the primary subtype of the virus circulating in the region (see the IAVI database of AIDS vaccines in human trials for more information). The Vaccine Research Center at the US National Institutes of Health, in collaboration with the HIV Vaccine Trials Network (HVTN), is also conducting a Phase II trial in South Africa with their DNA and adenovirus serotype-5 vaccine candidates. Merck and the HVTN will begin a Phase IIb AIDS vaccine trial there later this year with their lead adenovirus-based AIDS vaccine candidate.

All articles written by Kristen Jill Kresge.
Spotlight article was adapted from an article by Sheri Fink (IAVI Report, 10, 4, 2006)