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The Canada-Sub Saharan Africa (CANSSA) HIV/AIDS Network: Building African capacity for HIV prevention research through collaborative multi-site pilot projects.

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Presentation on theme: "The Canada-Sub Saharan Africa (CANSSA) HIV/AIDS Network: Building African capacity for HIV prevention research through collaborative multi-site pilot projects."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Canada-Sub Saharan Africa (CANSSA) HIV/AIDS Network: Building African capacity for HIV prevention research through collaborative multi-site pilot projects Mark A. Brockman (Simon Fraser University, Canada) Thumbi Ndung’u (University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa)

2 Strong clinical and research teams exist at numerous African sites A successful strategy to end HIV/AIDS requires better utilization of this knowledge/skill and better coordination among African sites Current funding strategies often support North-South collaborations that are typically not African-led Better mechanisms to fund and maintain South-South collaborations are necessary, particularly in the area of training and career development of young researchers Future HIV vaccine and prevention trials will be more complex Research teams/cohorts and administrators with combined clinical, biomedical, and social-behavioral expertise will be critical Needs, Gaps, and Ways Forward

3 Multi-disciplinary, multi-national network of HIV vaccine and prevention researchers PIs: Thumbi Ndung’u (South Africa) and Mark Brockman (Canada) Site Investigators: South Africa (Soweto): Glenda Gray South Africa (Durban):Thumbi Ndung’u Lesotho: Mpolai Moteetee Zambia: William Kilembe Rwanda: Etienne Karita Uganda: Conrad Muzoora Canada: Zabrina Brumme, Cari Miller, Richard Harrigan USA: Susan Allen, Eric Hunter, David Bangsberg, Todd Allen, Peter Hunt Well-established African research sites with expertise in social/behavioral, clinical, and biomedical research What is CANSSA?

4 Canada/USA: Vancouver San Francisco Boston Atlanta New collaboration: Chicago Africa: Mbarara, Uganda Kigali, Rwanda Lusaka and Ndola, Zambia Maseru, Lesotho Durban and Soweto, South Africa New collaborations: Nairobi, Kenya Johannesburg and Cape Town, South Africa Where is CANSSA?

5 Goal: To build a sustainable, multi-disciplinary “Network of Excellence” that supports African-led HIV/AIDS initiatives Enhance student/staff training and knowledge transfer programs through African ‘sites of excellence’ within the network Develop infrastructure at all sites and link them to African ‘core’ facilities for more complex/expensive research needs Establish complimentary laboratory protocols, behavioral surveys, community engagement strategies, and data management/analysis approaches at network sites Partner with other groups to facilitate sustainability Goal and Priorities

6 Program to support short-term collaborative projects that can extend HIV/AIDS research or training capacity at Network sites Takes advantage of existing African expertise and skills Builds research collaboration among African investigators (particularly young researchers) Provides data for presentation, publication, and new grants To date, we have funded ten pilot projects Typical award is for 1-year; up to CAD$50,000 Led by researchers at two Network sites Established new collaborations within (and beyond) the Network MatCH/Durban, UCT/Cape Town, NICD/Johannesburg, KAVI/Nairobi CANSSA Network Pilot Grants

7 1)Strengthening the laboratory capacity at Project San Francisco to support the follow- up of a cohort of HIV-1 infected women with long-term survival. Project Leader: Etienne Karita Rwanda and South Africa (Durban) 2)Cross-clade comparison of HIV-1 Nef sequence and function. Project Leaders: Jaclyn Mann and Helen Byakwaga South Africa (Durban) and Uganda 3)Virology and immunology of Gag-mediated control of HIV-1. Project Leaders: Denis Chopera, Zaza Ndhluvo, Lycias Zembe, and Marion Kigouya South Africa (Durban, Cape Town) and Kenya 4)Can antibodies block the initial steps in mucosal HIV transmission? Leaders: Lynn Morris, Tom Hope, and Glenda Gray South Africa (Soweto, Johannesburg) and USA 5)Investigating the prevalence of bacterial vaginosis in older adolescents. Leaders: Caroline Tiemessen and Glenda Gray South Africa (Soweto, Johannesburg), USA, and Canada Pilot Grants (work in progress)

8 6)Knowledge and technology transfer in host/viral genotyping and bioinformatics. Leaders: Luke Swenson and Michelle Gordon South Africa (Durban, Cape Town), USA, and Canada 7)Prevalence of anaemia and its association with food security in pregnant girls attending antenatal and postnatal clinic in Durban, South Africa. Leader: Mammekwa Mokgoro South Africa (Durban) 8)Performance characteristics of three point-of-care hemoglobin meters. Leaders: Huub Gelderblom and Manjeetha Jaggarnath South Africa (Durban) 9)Healthcare workers’ reproductive counseling knowledge, views, and practices for people living with HIV. Leaders: Jennifer Smit and Francis Bajunirwe South Africa (Durban) and Uganda 10)Safer conception for HIV-infected men with at-risk partners. Leaders: Jennifer Smit and Francis Bajunirwe South Africa (Durban) and Uganda Pilot Grants (work in progress)

9 Annual Investigator’s Meetings Durban 2011, 2012 Networking Events Keystone (Vancouver, BC); AIDS2012 (Washington, DC) Complimentary Research Grant (from GHRI): “Implementation of Couples’ Voluntary HIV Counseling and Testing services in Durban, South Africa, for HIV prevention and intervention.” Leaders: William Kilembe and Mammekwa Mokgoro Zambia and South Africa CHVI Large Team Grant - Vaccine Discovery and Social Research: “Barriers to enrolling young people in HIV vaccine trials in a priority setting.” Leaders: Mark Brockman, Angela Kaida, Jeremy Snyder (Canada) Glenda Gray, Thumbi Ndung’u (South Africa) Other Activities

10 Engaging Young Investigators in Research: All pilot projects involve training and supervision of young researchers A postdoctoral fellow or PhD student serves as co-PI on four projects New Collaborations : Maternal, Adolescent, and Child Health (MatCH), South Africa Social/behavioral research (HIV, family planning) National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD), South Africa Biomedical research (mucosal immunology, neut Abs) Northwestern University, USA Biomedical research (mucosal biology) Kenya AIDS Vaccine Initiative (KAVI), Kenya Biomedical research (viral fitness, cross-clade analyses) Highlights:

11 Challenges Administration: Sub-contracts require independent Ethics and Financial/Legal agreements (via UKZN) Top-down vs. Bottom-up approaches to “collaboration” Research “language” differs between biomedical and social sciences Time and Distance between sites (local projects often easier) Opportunities More collaboration! Shared research ideas among sites within the Network (and beyond) Laboratory or data “hubs” Joint infrastructure for data collection/analysis Training workshops Data analysis, Manuscript and Grant writing Possible partnerships with OCTAVE and others Challenges and Future Opportunities

12 Thanks! Durban, 2012


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