The U.S. Military HIV Research Program (MHRP) is at the forefront of the battle against HIV. The program has a robust international HIV clinical trial capability in Africa, and its research network includes Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria, Tanzania, Thailand and Uganda. HJFMRI supports this work. HJFMRI provides scientific and technical personnel, administrative and logistical support, and expanded facilities and capabilities at MHRP’s sites around the globe.
In 2004, MHRP began supporting HIV prevention, care and treatment through the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief in the African communities where it conducts research. Through local partners, MHRP has helped more than 200,000 patients begin lifesaving antiretroviral therapy and more than 1 million patients receive HIV testing and counseling.
The program’s RV144 HIV vaccine trial in Thailand, which concluded in 2009, demonstrated, for the first time, a modest ability to protect against HIV infection. The trial propelled MHRP to the forefront of vaccine development and expanded its research portfolio. The program is now partnering with private industry, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases to plan a series of follow-up studies building on the success of RV144.
The RV144 trial continues to inform the HIV vaccine research field. In 2013, MHRP initiated two follow-on clinical studies in Thailand to gather more immunogenicity data and evaluate extended boosting regimens to try and improve and prolong the level of protection seen in RV144. Data from these studies are being used to design future efficacy studies.
Researchers have also launched a multinational HIV cohort study in Africa that will recruit 3,600 volunteers. The African Cohort Study—the first of its kind in sub-Saharan Africa—will help researchers better understand what leads to the best clinical outcomes in resource-limited settings.
In 2014, researchers expanded their work in HIV therapeutics. Their early infection studies in East Africa and Thailand are generating new data and providing a platform for cure research.