CIPRA Award Supports HIV/AIDS Research in South Africa

Date: July 26, 2002
Source: National Institutes of Health (NIH)
Author: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) has awarded a Comprehensive International Program for Research on AIDS (CIPRA) grant to the University of Natal in Durban, South Africa. The award totals nearly $11 million for five years to support a collaboration of South African investigators conducting research on HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment. The collaboration is known as the Centre for the AIDS Programme of Research in South Africa (CAPRISA).

The program's principal investigator is Professor Salim S. Abdool Karim, Ph.D., Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Research and Development at the University of Natal. Dr. Abdool Karim will lead a team of scientists from the Universities of Natal, Cape Town and Western Cape, South Africa's National Institute of Communicable Diseases, AngloGold American's Aurum Health Research Unit, and a U.S. academic partner, Columbia University in New York.

CIPRA grants are awarded to developing countries to help strengthen their HIV/AIDS research infrastructure and increase their capacity for research into promising methods of HIV prevention and treatment. In South Africa, the award will support CAPRISA's three major goals:

  • To undertake globally relevant and locally responsive prevention and treatment research that contributes to understanding HIV pathogenesis, evolving epidemiology, and developing strategies for AIDS care provision in resource-constrained settings;
  • To build local research infrastructure and capacity in virology, immunology, clinical infectious diseases, bioinformatics, epidemiology and biostatistics; and
  • To enhance and strengthen the critical mass of skilled researchers in South Africa, particularly young scientists from historically disadvantaged communities, through well-established training links with Columbia University.

Plans for CAPRISA's first year include two projects: a study of people with acute infection with HIV sub-type C, the strain of HIV commonly found in southern Africa, and a clinical trial to determine the best time when to begin anti-retroviral therapy (ARV) for patients co-infected with HIV and tuberculosis.

NIAID Director Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., said, "This award will draw together many of South Africa's finest researchers to conduct critical studies on the treatment of HIV and tubercuolosis, as well as basic research that will lay the foundation for future AIDS clinical trials. In addition, this project complements other ongoing AIDS research in South Africa supported by NIAID, such as the clinical centers working with the HIV Vaccine Trials Network and the HIV Prevention Trials Network."

NIAID is a component of the NIH. NIAID supports basic and applied research to prevent, diagnose, and treat infectious and immune-mediated illnesses, including HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases, illness from potential agents of bioterrorism, tuberculosis, malaria, autoimmune disorders, asthma and allergies.

Prepared by:
Office of Communications and Public Liaison National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
National Institutes of Health
Bethesda, MD 20892
Press Office: (301) 402-1663
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services