Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Immunology

The Division currently conducts basic science research to understand protective immune responses and pathogenesis of diseases. It designs better assays for measuring vaccine induced responses, and vaccine trials for safety and immunogenicity. The Division undertakes studies to design better assays for diagnosis and surveillance, and research work leading to the better understanding of interaction between diseases. Most of the work is conducted within our collaborative programmes especially MRC, IAVI, CDC and Wellcome Trust. Through these partnerships, training has been a major component of the division.

Some of the current themes are summarized below:

Studies to understand better HIV-1 protective immune responses

One challenge of developing an HIV vaccine is the poor understanding of protective immune responses to HIV that a vaccine should induce. Using various cohorts set up within the MRC Unit and by other partners, there are a number of studies that have been conducted to contribute to this knowledge gap with the following objectives:

  • To study the immunological correlates of slow disease progression
  • To investigate the immunological correlates of protection in individuals who are highly exposed to HIV but remain uninfected
  • To determine the virological and host factors associated with HIV-1 superinfection
  • To understand host and viral factors associated with the development of broadly neutralizing antibodies.

Studies to understand the immunological interaction of diseases

Funded largely by the Wellcome Trust, the European Union and MRC, there are a number of studies looking at the interactions between infection and non-communicable diseases and responses to vaccines. The aims of these activities are:

  • To investigate the effects of maternal helminths and their treatment and childhood helminths and their treatment on a) the response to childhood immunisations b) the incidence of infectious and atopic diseases in childhood.
  •  To determine the effect of helminth infection on candidate HIV and TB vaccine responses
  • To determine the effect of helminths especially schistosomiasis on HIV infection and disease progression,
  • A new study has also been initiated to determine whether helminths have important protection against asthma, eczema and atopy.

 

Vaccine trials safety and immunogenicity

The institute through collaborations with IAVI and other partners has continued to participate in HIV vaccine trials. For details see UVRI-IAVI and MRC-UVRI sections or website

 Other studies conducted include

  • Studies to determine factors that affect the efficacy of BGC in the tropics
  • Studies to determine the prevalence of pre-existing Ad-specific T cells and humoral responses.
  • Studies to look at the protective immune responses in individuals who have recovered from Ebola and studies to understand better how the Yellow Fever vaccine provides protection using gene microarray.

 

 

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