The National Institute for Medical Research (NIMR) - Mbeya Medical Research Center (MMRC) is one of Tanzania’s most active research centers. NIMR-MMRC has a longstanding partnership with MHRP, along with many other international partners.
NIMR-MMRC began collaborating with MHRP in 2001, and became a HIV Vaccine Trial Network (HVTN) clinical research site as part of the MHRP Clinical Trials Unit in 2013. Since then, it has successfully implemented three HIV vaccine trials funded by the U.S. NIH/NIAID and DAIDS. NIMR-MMRC has also conducted many vaccine trials outside of the HVTN, including trials for Ebola and TB, as well as cohort studies that contribute to vaccine research and trial development. MMRC also has significant experience conducting research with HIV-positive study participants, vulnerable populations such as pregnant women and infants/children, diagnostic and operational research, and therapeutic drug trials for both HIV and TB.
The Center, which began as a collaboration with the University of Munich (LMU, Germany), works with many international partners including the European Commission, European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP), Aeras Africa/IAVI, TB Alliance and the Karolinska Institute.
Completed Vaccine Studies with MHRP include:
- DNA/MVA vaccine study - Karolinska Institute Vaccine Study TaMoVac 1/2
- HIV vaccine trial - HVTN 111
- HIV bNAb therapy - RV398: Safety and Virologic Effect of a Monoclonal Antibody Administered Intravenously to Adults During Early Acute HIV Infection
- Ebola vaccine - RV456: Phase 2 Ebola Vaccine Study - Investigated safety and immunogenicity of two Ebola vaccine regimens in healthy and HIV-1 infected volunteers
Cohort Studies with MHRP:
Over a period of nearly 10 years, the site carried out a large prospective acute infection cohort study, RV217. This site enrolled 633 volunteers in the study for twice-weekly blood collections with 26 incident acute infections observed. The high rate of volunteer visit compliance was key to study success. RV217 concluded in 2018 and provided the first characterization of acute HIV infection.
MMRC continues to support the PEPFAR-funded African Cohort Study (AFRICOS), a 15-year cohort longitudinal study that evaluates the impact of clinical, biological and socio-behavioral issues on HIV infection and disease progression.
- PrEPVacc - an African-led, European- supported HIV prevention project in East and Southern Africa; phase 2b HIV vaccine trial evaluating two HIV vaccine regimens and a new pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) agent.
- Adding youth cohort of ages 15-17 to AFRICOS study
- Conducting follow up in HVTN 703 AMP Study, a phase 2b study to evaluate the safety and efficacy of bNAb VRC01.
Robust Community Engagement:
The Community Advisory Board (CAB) of 20 members drawn from the Mbeya community has been in operation since 2005. The CAB serves as a bridge between the research center and the local community, and board members represent diverse stakeholders and populations in the community. CAB members and MMRC staff participate in health awareness events to help bridge the research information gaps between researchers and community and educate the public on the role of research in health and development.