Unit Researchers Pitch Learnings from HIV Studies At High-Level HIV/AIDS Symposium

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Researchers from the Unit participated in the National HIV/AIDS Symposium. The three day symposium was organised by Uganda Aids Comission a key partner with the Unit. The event provided a platform for six Unit scientists to present their latest work on  HIV/AIDS.

Two studies from the Non-Communicable Disease (NCD) theme “Long-Term Impact of Integrated HIV/Non-Communicable Disease Care Intervention on Patient Retention in Care and Clinical Outcomes in East Africa.” and “Integrated Management of HIV, Diabetes, and Hypertension in Sub-Saharan Africa” were presented by Dr. Ivan Namakoola, Scientist B in the NCD research theme at the Unit. While presenting he explained “Integrated chronic care services could achieve a high standard of care for people with diabetes or hypertension without adversely affecting outcomes for people with HIV.”

The vaccine research theme was presented by a group of early career scientists from the vaccines for viruses research group. Drake Byamukama, lab technician in the Viral Pathogens research theme presented a poster on "Assessing the Suitability of Using the Oxford Nanopore (Minion) Sequencing Platform for the Molecular Identification of HIV-1 Transmitted/Founder Viruses” while Kato Frank a masters student and lab technician in the Viral Pathogens research theme shared about the "Distinct Genetic Markers Linked to HIV-1 Transmitted Founder Viruses Originating in East Africa."  Laban Kato and Joseph Katende, scientists in  the viral pathogens research theme, jointly presented a poster on the "Diminished Sensitivity of Historical and Contemporary HIV-1 Strains.”

The scientists sensitised key audiences, including young scientists in a side event on ‘Basic HIV Care and Treatment’ about the outstanding causes of HIV drug resistance in HIV-infected populations. Laban Kato said, “The virus has continuously evolved over time, but our drugs have not been improved to match the contemporary variants thus causing ineffectiveness of the drugs.” Frank Kato added, "The drugs available in Uganda have proven ineffective against Ugandan HIV variants due to the diversity of strains present in the country and their parallel differences from those in the countries producing these medications. Our learnings will therefore enable the Ministry of Health to ably collaborate with vaccine manufacturers in the production of vaccines specifically designed to target strains that are unique to Uganda."

The Unit posters received high engagement from high-level policy makers from Uganda, Africa and worldwide, key players in the research sector, academia, civil society and the private sector, among other key publics. Among these were Hon. Amelia Kyambadde, Senior Presidential Advisor on Industry, Hon. Joseline Baata Kamateneti, Ntungamo Woman MP, and Dr. Nelson Musoba, UAC Director General. Hon. Amelia Kyambadde commended the Unit for such innovative work. 

 Our Knowledge Transfer Exchange (KTE) framework highlights the dynamic and interactive processes embedded at the Unit through which we ensure that our engagement with other researchers, policymakers, industry, business and society our research has a positive impact. 

The MRC/UVRI & LSHTM Uganda Research Unit is an internationally recognized centre of excellence for research and training. The Unit’s mission is to conduct high-quality research that adds knowledge and leads to improved control of infectious and non-communicable diseases in Uganda, Africa and globally, through translation of scientific findings into policy and practice, and rigorous research capacity building.

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