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NIMR-MMRC Medical Research Centre in Tanzania
NIMR-MMRC is a basic research center for the study of infectious diseases in Tanzania. Its facilities include advanced immunology and molecular biology laboratories, as well as a state-of-the-art safety lab. The centre aims to help Tanzanian researchers better understand how to treat and prevent diseases.
The NIMR-MMRC medical research centre in Tanzania is a basic research centre with state-of-the-art immunology and molecular biology facilities. It is also equipped with a state-of-the-art safety laboratory. The centre also conducts clinical trials on human subjects.
The NIMR-MMRC conducts clinical trials on HIV, TB, Helminths, and other tropical diseases of public health importance. It also conducts basic research programmes on biomarkers and new diagnostic tools. It is also involved in clinical trials of new drugs and interventions to improve the health system in Tanzania.
The NIMR-MMRC medical research centre is part of the National Institute for Medical Research (NIMR), which is the largest public health research institution in Tanzania. It is led by Dr. Nyanda Ntinginya, the director of the Mbeya Medical Research Centre. The centre oversees the conduct of all trials conducted in Tanzania and Uganda.
The centre is home to an exceptional team of researchers. The chief research scientist at the NIMR-MMRC is Dr. Sayoki Godfrey Mfinanga, who holds several positions in the country. He is also the deputy director of the Afrique one consortium and the coordinator of the East African tuberculosis node of excellence. He was born in the Mwanga District in the Kilimanjaro Region. His colleagues at the centre include Dr. Andrew Kilale, who has expertise in Public Health.
HIV Vaccine Trial Network (HVTN)
The HIV Vaccine Trial Network (HVTL) is an international network that conducts trials on new HIV vaccines. HVTN has a focus on safety and immune response and is supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The network has 70 sites in Africa, Asia, and Europe and is the largest HIV vaccine research network in the world.
This study was initially a collaboration with the University of Munich. Today, it partners with several international organizations including the European Commission, the European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership, the World Health Organization, Aeras Africa/IAVI, the TB Alliance, and the Karolinska Institute. The HVTN conducts a large prospective cohort study known as RV217 in which 633 HIV-infected individuals were recruited and blood samples were collected twice a week for two years. It is the first large-scale study to characterize HIV-infected people in their first year of infection and provides an indication of which vaccines will be most effective.
The consortium’s leadership includes Professor Jonathan Weber, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine at Imperial College London and Dr Cherry Kingsley, a Project Manager and Product Provider. The NIMR-Mbeya Medical Research Centre is the lead organization for the HVTN, and Professor Jonathan Weber is the Dean of Faculty of Medicine at Imperial.
The HVTN is a nonprofit scientific research organization that addresses unmet global health needs. PrEPVacc is based in Nairobi, Kenya, and is supported by the International Aids Vaccine Initiative (IAVI). IAVI also funds capacity building activities for HIV vaccine trials in Africa. The IAVI’s PrEPVacc members are based in Nairobi, Kenya.
TB drug trials
Participants will be followed up for 24 months during the trial. They will be checked weekly for the first 12 weeks, and then monthly for the following twenty-four weeks. After the trial ends, follow-up will continue, but become integrated into standard clinical care. Participants will be asked about their TB symptoms and health outcomes at these post-trial visits. They may also be required to undergo diagnostic tests or other procedures.
NIMR-MMRC has extensive experience conducting regulatory-standard clinical trials. Its facilities include advanced immunology and molecular biology as well as a state-of-the-art safety laboratory. To date, the centre has conducted more than six TB drug trials.
The NIMR-MMRC conducts research in HIV/AIDS, TB, Helminths, and other tropical diseases of public health importance. It also conducts HIV vaccine trials, TB drug and diagnostic trials, and basic research on biomarkers. In addition, the institute is conducting several clinical trials to test new diagnostics and health system interventions.
The H56-IC31 trial is a phase 2 double-blind, randomized, 1:1 trial. The trial involves 900 HIV-negative adults who have drug-susceptible TB. These patients will be recruited from established TB clinics in five study sites in Africa, including the Mbeya Medical Research Centre. Dr Nyanda is also the centre’s centre director.
The primary efficacy endpoint will be a ratio of the TB incidence rate in the intervention group to the control group. The results will be presented as efficacy estimates using Poisson regression. Besides the primary endpoint, the researchers will also examine the incidence of TB deaths among the participants of each treatment group. The secondary outcomes will be the same as the primary outcome. Moreover, the results will include a comparison of the treatment efficacy against the standard treatment.
Helminths are a group of parasitic worms that can infect humans. The most common are roundworm and whipworm. Infection with either of these parasites may cause diarrhea, malnutrition, and growth retardation. Light infections, however, are usually asymptomatic. Worldwide, an estimated 465 million people are infected with helminths, and poor hygienic conditions contribute to the transmission of these infections.
Currently, the NIMR-MMRC is working on studies of HIV, TB, and Helminths, as well as other tropical diseases of public health. They are conducting several clinical trials of new drugs and diagnostics for these diseases, as well as several basic research programmes focused on biomarkers. Those studies also provide important insights into immunological pathways involved in Helminth infections.
Collaborations with PrEPVacc
The MRC/UVRI & LSHTM Uganda Research Unit is based in Entebbe, Uganda. This internationally renowned HIV prevention research centre recently joined the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM). The Centre has been collaborating with NIMR-Mbeya since 1988 and has long-standing collaborations with MUHAS. It is home to the PrEPVacc project leadership and its database. Dr Eugene Ruzagira is the Trial Director, Professor Janet Seeley is the Social Science Lead and Dr Christian Hansen is the Trial Statistician.
The NIMR-MMRC conducts HIV, TB, Helminths, and other tropical diseases of public health importance. The center’s research and development efforts focus on new diagnostics and treatment approaches for these diseases. In addition, it also conducts several clinical trials of HIV vaccines and drugs, and has basic research programs examining biomarkers of HIV infection. The Center collaborates with a number of research institutes in Africa, including the renowned LMU University Hospital Munich.
The Mbeya Medical Research Centre has more than 150 staff and is home to the MRC Clinical Trials Unit. This centre is a recognized centre of excellence for clinical research and is home to GCP-compliant phase I to III clinical trials and social science programs. Through this collaboration, NIMR-Mbeya will build capacity at its partner site by assessing key secondary immunological endpoints in the African study arm. By providing these key indicators, the partners will be able to demonstrate the overall efficacy of therapeutic vaccinations and engage with target populations.
The MMRC has advanced immunology, molecular biology and safety laboratory facilities to facilitate HIV vaccine trials. The institute also supports the PePFAR-funded African Cohort Study. This cohort longitudinal study seeks to understand the impact of social and cultural factors on HIV infection and the progression of HIV disease.