Project Updates

To date, our primary efforts have been focused on the following activities:

  • Harmonization of procedures and assay development for innate and adaptive
  • Qualification of gene profiling analysis, including RT-MLPA and gene array
  • Harmonization of protocols and analysis methods across the sites and diseases
  • Obtaining Ethics approval for the retrospective, prospective and intervention studies on worms and HIV, TB and Malaria and completion of enrolment
  • Collection of biological samples and epidemiological data
  • Initiate the characterization of the innate immune response elicited by worm infections and determine whether the worm-induced innate immune response modulates the innate and adaptive immune response to as well as molecular profile of HIV, TB and malaria antigens
  • Initiate analysis on the effect of worm infections and/or anti-worm treatment on incidence, clinical presentation and immune responses against worms and/or HIV, TB and malaria
  • Initiation of HIV, TB and malaria vaccine trials with the objective to determine the modulation by worm-infections of vaccine-induced immune responses
  • Establishment of an IDEA Central Database
  • Human capacity building, with special emphasis on immunology, in Africa

To date, the main achievements include:

  • Harmonization of SOPs for isolation and stimulation of DCs, monocytes & B cells, CD4 and CD8 T cells, PBMC isolation and cryopreservation, ELISpot, functional polychromatic flow cytometry and Luminex technology
  • Selection of common panel of antigens to stimulate innate immunity and antibody panel for the ICS assay
  • Harmonization of criteria for acquisition of infection, disease progression and response to therapy
  • Harmonization of protocols for worms and HIV, TB and malaria between the different study sites
  • Enrolment completed for most studies.
  • Initial Luminex, DC and B-cell innate immunity data obtained on the interaction between malaria and helminth infections
  • Preliminary results obtained from several studies with regard to the immunological interplay between helminth infections and HIV- and TB-specific T cell responses
  • Significant progress on the gene profiling analysis (both rt-MLPA and gene array), including:
    • Completion of the HIV, Malaria, and TB pilot study using the dcRT-MLPA assay, with several significant and interesting results
    • Completion of the initial analysis on subjects with S. mansoni and HIV co-infection
    • Completion of the initial gene array analysis on TB study
    • Agreement on harmonized data analysis approach to allow meta-analysis of data from HIV- TB-, and malaria-cohorts.
  • Initial results obtained from several studies on the effects of worm infection
  • Initiation of malaria vaccine study and identified candidate sites for HIV and TB vaccine trails.
  • Establishment of the Terms of Reference for IDEA database. Launched the web-access IDEA database portal. Collected demographic, clinical and parasitological data together with the data dictionary from multiple studies, and the centralize analysis is well under way.
  • Capacity in immunological assays and worm diagnostic assay (RT-PCR) in multiple laboratories in the South strengthened through the laboratory harmonization process and training
  • Multiple Immunology course held at the MRC-UVRI, Entebbe, Uganda; 3 workshops on cutting- edge technology (RT-PCR diagnosis, flow cytometry and gene profiling) organized.
  • Supported multiple master and PhD students programs
  • In collaboration with TheSchistoVac, E-PIAF and Settrend (programs funded under FP7 on helminth infections), organized the EC Colloquium for Helminth Infections, bringing together participants and presenters from IDEA, The Schistovac, E-PIAF and Settrend, and featuring keynote presentations by leaders in the field of co-infection and helminth studies.
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