World AIDS Day is held on 1 December each year and is an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, show their support for people living with HIV /AIDS and commemorate people who have died. Worlds AIDS Day was the first ever global health day and the first one was held in 1988. 30 years after the first cases of HIV the red ribbon is the universal symbol of awareness and support for those living with HIV. Pictured here is Busi Khambule from the Diakonia Council of Churches. Picture: Shelley Kjonstad
World AIDS Day is held on 1 December each year and is an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, show their support for people living with HIV /AIDS and commemorate people who have died. Worlds AIDS Day was the first ever global health day and the first one was held in 1988. 30 years after the first cases of HIV the red ribbon is the universal symbol of awareness and support for those living with HIV. Pictured here is Busi Khambule from the Diakonia Council of Churches. Picture: Shelley Kjonstad

R73 million funding for HIV, TB vaccine development awarded to Durban research institute

By Kelly Jane Turner Time of article published Oct 22, 2021

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A Durban-based research institute has received funding of over R73 million to focus on vaccine research and development for HIV and tuberculosis (TB) prevention.

The Sub-Saharan African Network for TB/HIV Research Excellence (SANTHE) was awarded the funds by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation as part of their Collaboration for AIDS Vaccine Discovery (CAVD) grant commitment.

SANTHE will use the funds to create a new scientific network with its partner institutions based in eight African countries, called the African Collaboration for Innovation in HIV/TB Prevention.

Heading up the new network is Professor Thumbi Ndung’u, Director for Basic and Translational Science.

Ndung’u said the investment would promote scientific innovation and collaboration in Africa for diseases that remain leading public health challenges in Africa.

“The studies performed through this new African collaboration will generate current and invaluable knowledge to inform vaccine development and other prevention strategies for two of Africa’s most predominant diseases, as well as further develop research capacity and leadership in Africa and globally,” he said.

The grant will fund innovative research projects, trainee fellowships, and leadership development programmes.

Executive Director for the Africa Health Research Institute (AHRI), Willem Hanekom, said the new grant would enhance African collaboration to address TB and HIV.

“We believe the new network is well-positioned to advance HIV and TB understanding and management. AHRI is proud to be associated with these initiatives.”

Ndung’u said the strategic goal of the African Collaboration for Innovation in HIV/TB Prevention would be to drive innovation in African laboratories where the burden of HIV and TB is high and to prevent new infections.

“In order to accelerate the reduction in HIV and TB incidence in high-burden regions and populations with the goal of achieving sustained epidemic control, we must widely deploy the current proven prevention and treatment strategies and focus on research that might identify novel biomedical more optimal interventions,” he said.

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