Research

Makerere University Walter Reed Project

The Makerere University Walter Reed Project (MUWRP) is a non-profit partnership between Makerere University and MHRP. MHRP has been conducting HIV research in Uganda since 1998 and expanded its portfolio to include prevention, care and treatment activities in 2005 under the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). More recently, MUWRP expanded its portfolio to research into other communicable diseases of public health importance in Uganda.

By building infrastructure and increasing the capacity of local public and private partners, MUWRP ensures quality services for communities participating in vaccine research and HIV cohort studies.

Research

Scientists and partners are part of a robust research program focused on cohort development, surveillance, and vaccine studies.

HIV vaccine studies and cohort development

  • RV172: MUWRP completed a multisite study that evaluated a multiclade HIV DNA plasmid vaccine, VRC-HIVDNA016-00-VP, boosted by a multiclade HIV-1 recombinant adenovirus-5 vector vaccine, VRC-HIVADV014-00-VP, in uninfected adult volunteers in East Africa. Participants will have an extended follow-up in Protocol RV283.
  • RV164: Determination of Laboratory Reference Data Using Anonymous Healthy Ugandan Blood Bank Donors
  • RV217 (ECHO): HIV-1 Prevalence, Incidence, Cohort Retention, and Host Genetics and Viral Diversity in High Risk Cohorts in East Africa

Ebola/Marburg Vaccine Study

This site was recently selected by the Vaccine Research Center at NIH to conduct a clinical trial on candidate vaccines for Ebola/Marburg. This study, called RV247, is a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study to evaluate the safety, tolerability, and immunogenicity of two recombinant DNA vaccines: one against Ebola virus and one against Marburg virus infections. A second part of the study will evaluate simultaneous administration of the Ebola and Marburg vaccines, which are evaluated independently in part one.

Avian Influenza/Pandemic Influenza (GEIS)

MUWRP expanded its portfolio to include active surveillance of influenza and influenza-like viruses in humans, animals, and migratory birds in Uganda. The program developed an infrastructure and built capacity in clinical and immunological laboratory testing, data management, conducting clinical trials, and other related activities.

Community Outreach

MUWRP is committed to actively engaging communities in the different stages of the research process, from trial protocol development/design through implementation to dissemination of research findings.

Through its community outreach component, MUWRP has engaged communities in Kampala and Kayunga districts by interfacing with the media, dialoguing with policymakers, sensitizing communities and their leaders to public health issues, orienting health professionals and most importantly, working with Community Advisory Boards.

Facilities

The main MUWRP facility, on Nakasero Road in Kampala, houses administration, data management, communications, and clinical activities, A state-of-the-art laboratory is located at the Mulago Hospital, which is accredited by the College of American Pathologists (CAP). The hospital’s clinical capabilities include testing for HIV, hepatitis B and C, syphilis, and pregnancy; urinalysis, hematology, malaria microscopy, and chemistry services; and CD4 determination using flow cytometry. Research capabilities include PBMC cryopreservation and HIV subtyping as well as numerous assays to assess individual immune system response to HIV.

Two Biosafety Level 2 Laboratories have been renovated, one to process animal samples at the Makerere University Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and the other to process human samples at the Uganda Virus Research Institute in Entebbe for the Avian Influenza Surveillance program.

MUWRP’s field activities in Kayunga District are located at the Ntenjuru Health Centre III.