Thursday, 23 March 2017

History of Health Research at UVRI

The Uganda Virus Research Institute was established in 1936 by the International division of the Rockefeller Foundation as a Yellow Fever Research Institute. In 1950 the Institute became the East African Virus Research Institute under the East African High Commission. The same year it was designated as WHO Regional Center for Arboviruses Reference and Research. In 1977 the East African Community collapsed and the Institute was subsequently named the Uganda Virus Research Institute. After the discovery of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) in Uganda, research work with collaborators on HIV started in 1987. In 2009, UVRI became a constituent institute of the Uganda National Health Research Organization (UNHRO), an umbrella organization for health research within the Uganda.. 

UVRI’s milestones:

  • 2009: A UVRI scientist Dr. Louis Godfrey Mukwaya was globally recognized for mosquito research.  A new subgenus of the genus stegomyia mosquitoes was named in the honour of a Ugandan scientist.  The new subgenus mukwaya includes ten species formally placed in the simpsoni group of Huang.
  • 2008: Training Health Researchers in Vocational Excellence (THRiVE), a consortium of UK and African research and education instititutions is formed
  • 2008: Makerere-UVRI Research Training Programme in Infection and Immunity (MUII) launched with support from Wellcome Trust
  • 2008: The East African Consortium for Clinical Research (EACCR), a regional network is formed to address the concerns of uncoordinated research, inadequate/drained human resource with support European Union.
  • 2007: Canadian-Africa Prevention Trials Network (CAPTN) is created with headquarters at UVRI
  • 2007: International Association for National Public Health Institutions (IANPHI) starts providing support to UVRI’s research support office 
  • 2000: International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) starts collaborating with UVRI on HIV/Aids vaccine research.
  • 1999: UVRI collaborates on the first ever HIV vaccine trial in Africa - the first of many trials to come.
  • 1997: the United States Centre for Disease Control sets up its own centre at UVRI.
  • 1990s: Research conducted by UVRI and partners demonstrates for the first time that at the population level, the number of new infections per year are declining in Uganda
  • 1989: Medical Research Council (MRC) of the UK sets up an HIV/AIDS unit at UVRI premises.
  • 1988: Government of Uganda invites the British Government to collaborate on HIV/AIDS research. 
  • 1988: Rakai Project (now Rakai Health Sciences Program) and the Medical Research Council start collaboration with UVRI.
  • 1987: Research work on the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) in Uganda starts with collaborators. 
  • 1986: The World Health Organisation provides funding for the rehabilitation of UVRI as a National HIV Reference and Research Laboratory to support the work of AIDS Control Program.
  • 1977:  The East African Virus Research Institute is renamed the Uganda Virus Research Institute
  • 1969: the World Health Organisation establishes a program for polio and other viruses including acute respiratory diseases and enteroviruses.
  • 1967: The Kadam virus is isolated after samples were taken from cattle in Karamoja, Uganda.
  • 1965: research for isolation from ticks started yielding two new strains from cattle ticks. 
  • 1962: Imperial Cancer Research Fund collaborates with the Institute in Lyons, France in studying aetiology of Burkitt’s lymphoma 
  • 1959: UVRI first isolates the O'nyong'nyong virus/ o'nyong-nyong virus
  • 1950: The Yellow Fever Research Institute became the East African Virus Research Institute under the East African High Commission.
  • 1942: The Semliki Forest virus was first isolated from mosquitoes in the Semliki Forest, Uganda.
  • 1940s: UVRI discovers the Bwamba fever that is caused by a virus and transmitted to humans through mosquito bites. 
  • 1937: The West Nile virus first isolated from a feverish 37-year-old woman at Omogo in the West Nile District of Uganda
  • 1937: The following years other viruses including the Chikungunya, West Nile and others were isolated at the Institute.
  • 1936: The International Division of the Rockefeller Foundation sets up a Yellow Fever Research Institute.
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