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South Africa

Focus: HIV, TB and related diseases

Affiliation : African Health Research Institute


Site and Background:

The Africa Health Research Institute (AHRI) comprises the KwaZulu-Natal Research Institute for TB-HIV (K-RITH) and the Africa Center for Population Health located in two sites in the KwaZulu-Natal Province. It combines the basic science capacity and expertise of K-RITH with the public health expertise and a remarkable, well defined, and longitudinally followed clinical cohort at the Africa Center. The AHRI endeavors to better understand the transmission and treatment of HIV, tuberculosis, and related diseases and inform improved diagnostic, prevention, and treatment efforts.

KRITH is supported by the South African Medical Research Council, Wellcome Trust, Howard Hughes Medical Institute. It is a state of the art independent research facility established in 2009. The research facility is located on the campus of the University of KwaZulu-Natal and is co-localized with CAPRISA (Centre for the AIDS Programme of Research in South Africa). It was established in 2009, partially in response to the emergence of extremely drug resistant tuberculosis in rural KwaZulu-Natal in an effort to bring basic science expertise to the heart of the twin-epidemics of HIV and tuberculosis.

The Africa Center for Population Health, located in Somkhlele in northern KwaZulu-Natal, focuses on improving population health by addressing the burden of HIV and TB and non-communicable diseases in KwaZulu-Natal. The Africa Center curates a well-defined cohort of over 100,000 people with remarkably high prevalence of and incidence of HIV and TB. The cohort includes more than 16 years of population data.

A faculty of 15 scientists, each with an associated research group, directs the research efforts at the AHRI. This core group of senior scientists have projects focusing on systems biology, populations health, immunology, proteomic, microbiology, virology and numerous other areas.

AHRI major academic partners are the University of KwaZulu-Natal and University College London but currently has collaborations with over 60 institutions worldwide. Projects at AHRI are supported by a dedicated Science Office that assists with coordinating research activities, providing governance, and support for grants and ethics approval. The AHRI has five core Research Departments: Laboratory Research, Research Data Management, Clinical Research, Social Science, Research Ethics, and Population Research. Between these departments, expertise in management of clinical samples, diagnostic testing, sequencing, and animal research models is available.

This combination of a remarkable clinical cohort and world-class basic science expertise and facilities creates truly unique inroads into improving our understanding of HIV, tuberculosis, and associated diseases. This is fertile ground for GHES based proposals spanning clinical, translational, and basic science.