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EVI co-led vaccinology course in Uganda, together with UVRI-IAVI


26 June 2023


On 29-31 May 2023, European Vaccine Initiative (EVI) in collaboration with Uganda Virus Research Institute-International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (UVRI-IAVI) organised a joint vaccinology course in Entebbe, Uganda. The course, supported by the Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases (TDR) and the European & Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP), aimed at strengthening local capacity in vaccinology while also building links between vaccine researchers in Africa and Europe.


The director of UVRI-IAVI, Dr. Brenda Okech, opened the 3-days course by welcoming the participants, which included medical doctors, clinical trial investigators, nurses, pharmacists and laboratory technologists from UVRI-IAVI and adjacent institutions. The training combined lectures with interactive sections, group discussions, networking, and Q&A sessions on a broad range of vaccinology topics such as types of vaccines and public health benefit, basic immunology, adjuvants, GMP manufacture, correlates of protection, preclinical and clinical vaccine development, controlled human infection models, clinical trial design, vaccine hesitancy and resource mobilisation.

The course was part of Dr. Amanda Wanyana’s re-integration to UVRI-IAVI following her TDR Clinical Research & Development Fellowship, which included a 1-year assignment to EVI in Germany. EVI is a non-profit organisation that is dedicated to vaccine development and capacity strengthening in the fight against diseases of poverty and emerging infectious diseases. A team from EVI, comprising Prof Ole Olesen (Executive Director), Dr Candice Marion (Vaccine Development Manager) and Dr Irene Nkumama (Malaria programme Manager) travelled to Uganda to contribute to the course on-site. The director of UVRI, Prof. Pontiano Kaleebu, also contributed to the training, giving first-hand experience on the role of vaccines in epidemic preparedness in Uganda, especially during Ebola outbreaks, while David Walusimbi from Uganda National Drug Authority (NDA) introduced trainees to pharmacovigilance and causality assessment.

EVI would like to thank the UVRI-IAVI team and trainees for the warm welcome and highly interactive and informative training. A special thanks to the Ugandan team of organisers, trainers and moderators including the director of UVRI-IAVI Dr. Brenda Okech, Dr. Amanda Wanyana, Dr. Nasimu Kyakuwa, David Mugisha, David Walusimbi, Benjamin Watyaba, Dr. Juliet Mpendo, Isaac Sekitoleko, Francis Matovu, Sandra Mirembe, Martha Turyatemba and Henry Rogers Ssemunywa.


The joint vaccinology course was possible with generous support from the Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases (TDR) and the Multistage Malaria Vaccine Consortium (MMVC), a collaborative project funded by the European & Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP2) Programme supported by the European Union.



 

Feedback from the course:

Amanda Wanyana, TDR fellow The training was engaging from the word go! Each trainer show-cased their vast knowledge, inciting even more interest and curiosity amongst the trainers. It had all the qualities of a successful training! I look forward to many such collaborations in the future! A special thank you to the EVI team who bought the idea and travelled so far to make it happen and to TDR for inspiring this dream that became a reality!
Dr. Brenda Okech, Director of UVRI-IAVI This vaccinology course was a really exciting opportunity for EVI to build capacity at UVRI-IAVI. The connection between Dr Amanda Wanyana, a 2021/2022 TDR Clinical Research and Development Fellowship recipient hosted by EVI was very instrumental. It was great to have participants from MUL, UVRI and EPI joining the 3-day training to improve their vaccinology knowledge. Prof Kaleebu, director of MUL and UVRI graced the training to discuss Ebola vaccines. We are very grateful to TDR for the funding and to the EVI Director and colleagues who came to share their competencies.
Sandra Mirembe, Pharmacist at UVRI-IAVI vaccine programme I was captivated by the different manufacturing processes that a vaccine undergoes before it can be used in clinical trials or approved on the market. The GLP, GMP, and GCP aspects as well as how conjugating a vaccine with different adjuvants will affect its ability to elicit immunity. My mind was also opened on the use of different strategies to be able to combat/prevent disease. This clearly came out during the development of malaria vaccines. Malaria vaccines include: Pre-erythrocytic vaccines (RTS, S and R21), Blood-stage vaccines, Transmission blocking vaccines and Placental malaria vaccines all which target the parasite using different stage of its lifecycle.
Owen Nayebare, Laboratory technologist at MRC/UVRI & LSTMH Uganda research unit It was timely and relevant to my current field as a laboratory technologist on mRNA vaccine development platform. This is because I was able to learn the technical aspect of vaccine candidate characterisation where parameters like post translational modifications are analysed in order to make sure the vaccine candidate is fit for the purpose. I was also able to relate the laboratory aspect of vaccinology to the immunology of vaccines and this expanded my knowledge onto which I can base to design best vaccine candidates.
Ole Olesen, EVI executive director This was a unique chance to meet and discuss the latest developments in vaccinology and strengthen our links with colleagues from Uganda. It was both inspiring and heartening to engage with such an enthusiastic group of fellow vaccinologists. A warm thank to the directors of UVRI and UVRI-IAVI for hosting this successful event, to Dr Amanda Wanyama and Dr David Mugisha for catalysing everything, and to TDR and EDCTP for their funding and support.
 

Participating institutions:




If you are interested in this or other vaccine R&D trainings, please visit www.euvaccine.eu/services or contact European Vaccine Initiative at contact.us@euvaccine.eu

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