The Laboratory Research and Implementation Science Department focuses on the emergence of resistant forms of HIV and supports translational research. This includes research into how intervention(s) work in real-world settings and evaluation of new innovative technologies.
IHVN has a robust laboratory services team which has the capacity to carry out a variety of tests accredited by the African Society for Laboratory Medicine (ASLM). It is in the process of WHO Accreditation for HIV Drug Resistance Testing.
The laboratories supported by IHVN also have the capacity to carry out Drug Resistance Testing (DRT) and is a nationally recognized as a leader in this field. IHVN Drug Resistant laboratory has been endorsed by NASCAP-HIV/AIDS Division of the Federal Ministry of Health.
In the past three years, the sequencing laboratory has performed HIV drug resistant test for the PEPFAR ACTION PlusUp program, the Pan-African Studies to Evaluate Resistance (PASER) and Monitoring Antiretroviral Resistance among Children (MARCH) ongoing at Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), the Department of Defense, Walter Reed Program and the US Military HIV Research Program.
The department also anchors implementation of laboratory research activities for the TRUST study, The Strategic Timing of Antiretroviral Treatment (START) study, NEUROAIDS study, Cryptococcal Antigenemia in Nigeria(CRANG) study, Monitoring Antiretroviral Therapy among Children (MARCH(MARCH/PASER) study and the Microbiome and Growth in HIV-Exposed but Uninfected Infants (MARGIN)study. It works closely with the molecular diagnostic unit, to provide viral load assays and molecular drug resistance determination to other IPs, private health facilities, and the government of Nigeria
The Department has three units, which are, Sequencing Unit, Implementation Science and Integration of Research Findings Unit and the Research Unit.
The Sequencing Unit
This unit handles the implementation of WHO HIV Drug Resistance Surveys. These are Acquired HIV Drug Resistance (ADR), Pre-treatment HIV Drug Resistance and Transmitted HIV Drug Resistance and surveillance of drug-resistance of drug-resistant HIV-1 among children <18 months in Nigeria.
As of June 2013, there were 31 laboratories located in 22 countries accredited by WHO for HIV Drug Resistant genotyping using plasma specimens. Five laboratories located in Brazil, two in Canada, the Institute of Human Virology Nigeria (IHV-Nigeria) laboratory and the Russian Federation are working towards accreditation in 2014.
The Research Unit
The Research Unit provides laboratory support for the MARCH Study, the TRUST study, the MARGIN study, the Multidisciplinary Studies of HIV and Viral Hepatitis Co-infection and the START study. The MARCH-Nigeria study seeks to strengthen facilities that will be essential for paediatric HIV DR monitoring in our settings an access to treatment increases. This will provide the necessary information to develop appropriate national ART policies and assist in targeting and implementing drug resistance prevention strategies. The MARGINstudy is a longitudinal study of the impact of maternal microbiota on changes in infants’ gastrointestinal microbiota during the first 24 months of life among 150 HIV-exposed uninfected children (HIV-EU) and 150 HIV-unexposed children. The TRUSTstudy is a longitudinal prospective cohort study that employs a behavioral survey as well as clinical evaluations to measure HIV and STI incidences of, and determine the best practices for, engaging Men who have Sex with Men (MSM) into prevention and care services. The START study is a multi-country, randomized study funded by the NIH through the insight network.
The Implementation Science and Integration of Research Finding Unit
This unit is responsible for carrying out the CRANG Study which is a study on Cryptococcal Antigenemia in Nigeria and evaluation of point of care assays for CD4, hematology, chemistry and HIV Drug Resistant mutations for point of care testing.