SAAVI’s overall goal is to co-ordinate the research, development and testing of HIV vaccines in South Africa in order to produce affordable, effective and locally relevant HIV vaccines.
Activities Related to NDOH Funding
Funding from the National Department of Health (NDOH) to SAAVI is used to support research in the following sites or areas:
- SAAVI-funded trial sites, one each respectively of the Aurum Health Research Institute, the Desmond Tutu HIV Centre, University of Cape Town (UCT) and the Perinatal HIV Research Unit (PHRU) of the University of the Witwatersrand (WITS). Funding allows sites to continue their ongoing work including:
- Support of the SAAVI DNA and MVA clinical trials,
- Building clinical research and management expertise,
- Implementing training initiatives, and
- Maintaining activities and research in community involvement in clinical research.
- Research by the HIV/AIDS Vaccine Ethics Group (HAVEG), University of KwaZulu-Natal, School of Psychology to critically evaluate ethical guidance regulating South African stakeholders’ responsibilities with regard to informed consent, child participation and community participation in HIV vaccine clinical trials.
- Operational maintenance of the UCT Vaccine Research Group (VRG) Good Laboratory Practice (GLP) Facility. This is to enable potency testing of the SAAVI DNA-C2 vaccine, a part of the DNA stability testing for lot release, to meet the FDA regulatory requirements.
- The MRC Delft Non-human Primate Facility which received partial funding to contribute towards the cost to support the research of the UCTVRG group.
In addition, the above funding also contributes to activities of the SAAVI Directorate and that of Masikhulisane, the SAAVI Community Involvement Programme.
Activities Related to Funding from Italy
SAAVI also receives funding from the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Directorate General of Development Cooperation (MAE-DGCS), for its role in the Program to support the Ministry of Health of South Africa in the implementation of a national program of global response to HIV & AIDS’.
The above Program consists of three components, namely a Health Services Strengthening Component, a Production or Good Manufacturing Practice Component and a Clinical Trial Component.
The SAAVI Interim Director is Leader of Component 3, which aims for the conduct of a phase II clinical trial in South Africa testing the Tat HIV vaccine created by Istituto Superiore di Sanità (ISS) or the Italian National Institute of Health. It includes development of fully accredited clinical trial sites capable to conduct clinical studies in line with international standards. It also includes building laboratory capacity for HIV and AIDS research, by setting up a multiple site laboratory platform for the conduct of clinical studies under Good Laboratory Practice (GLP) standards.
The NDOH recommended the South African Medical Research Council (MRC) and its lead programme, SAAVI, as partner to ISS to ensure implementation of this component. In this role, SAAVI oversees and reports on the clinical trial site activities.
Community involvement and education are an integral part of the Program. These activities are promoted, supported and coordinated by each of the CRUs and by SAAVI, through Masikhulisane, SAAVI’s Community Involvement Programme. Awareness raising and education form part of these activities and focus on HIV vaccine research and development and on the Tat HIV vaccine trial. In addition, SAAVI has developed a broader community education program targeting not only HIV-related issues but also other major health concerns such as TB and HIV co-infections to specifically address the Umzinyathi District in KwaZulu-Natal.
For more information on the Program and its three components, please click here. (pdf format, 442 kb)