Duke to oversee reliability of HIV vaccines

Staff writerNovember 16, 2010 

An national effort to assure that potential HIV vaccines are reliably tested will be housed at Duke University Medical Center, with a $52.8 million, 7-year grant from the National Institutes of Health to build a quality assurance program.

The project, the External Quality Assurance Oversight Laboratory, will develop, implement and lead oversight of quality assurance laboratories involved in HIV/AIDS research and vaccine trials around the world, the university announced Tuesday.

Already, Duke is a pivotal member of the Center for HIV/AIDS Vaccine Immunology (CHAVI), a consortium of universities and academic medical that are working to develop an HIV vaccine. UNC-Chapel Hill is also a member.

The new grant will build the Duke-based quality assurance program, so laboratory data can be tested and reproduced as vaccines and other treatments are developed. Currently, numerous laboratories around the world perform the tests for HIV studies, but having a single laboratory provide oversight should enhance the reliability of scientific findings.

“The absence of a single, centralized laboratory makes it imperative that strict quality assurance standards and protocols are in place," said Thomas Denny, who will head the new laboratory. "Patients, physicians and researchers all need to feel confident that a test on a blood sample performed in New York will yield the same results as the same test performed in London or South Africa as an example. Today, you might not find that.”

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