The International Core is designed specifically to support the international research base of UNC, FHl, and RTI, including collaborating in-country investigators, foster synergy across the Cores and CFARs, and enhance HIV/AIDS research collaborations in key countries: Malawi, South Africa, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), China, Russia, and in Central America, Nicaragua and Guatemala. The sheer volume and density of HIV in our collaborating sites allows research questions to be addressed with speed and efficiency impossible in places with lower HIV prevalence. A substantial part ofthe UNC CFAR's NIH support for HIV research comes for work undertaken outside the United States. This has involved leadership roles in the nternational NIH networks, including HPTN, the International ACTG, the CHAVI (Center for HIV Vaccine Immunology), Microbicide Trials Network and IMPAACT. UNC's global AIDS programs have led to the formation of an NIH HIV Clinical Trials Unit (CTU) in Lilongwe, Malawi, widely viewed as one ofthe best and most productive in the NIH Networks. Investigator-initiated research on HIV clinical care and biological and social factors related to HIV transmission and prevention of transmission is ongoing in Malawi, South Africa, China, the DRC, and Russia;research devoted to STD and HIV overlap has been a focus in China. UNC investigators have participated in virtually all Fogarty research Training Programs including AITRP, the Fogarty Center for Bioethics in Francophone Africa, the ICORTA-TB/AIDS, and the Fogarty Ellison pre- and post-doctoral programs. The Core provides: support for basic, clinical, and behavioral/social science infrastructure and capacity building;training in-country and at UNC in protocol development, IRB, and regulatory;and consideration of a range of ethical challenges raised by international research collaborations. The Core has provided leadership in facilitating cross-Core collaborations, mentoring junior investigators, manuscript and grant preparation for international collaborators, and communicating results from international research.
The International Core will impact public health in several ways. By investing in laboratory infrastructure, clinical and social/behavioral research capacity, development of clinical databases and specimen repositories, and mentored training needed to sustain these investments, the Core has facilitated important scientific and clinical discoveries that have been translated into improved medical treatment for people most affected by the HIV epidemic.
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