The International Core (1C) has been a major element of the UAB CFAR since 1997. With the change in CFAR and 1C leadership in this last project period, the 1C has sharply focused on Zambia and the remarkable achievements occurring there, principally through a direct partnership with the Center for Infectious Diseases Research in Zambia (CIDRZ). The CFAR helped establish CIDRZ in the late 1990s with a mission to provide infrastructure support for HIV related research and treatment programs in Zambia. Over the last funding period, the CFAR has enabled CIDRZ to create laboratory capacity in high-through put clinical laboratory testing, high quality flow cytometry for accurate CD4 determinations, viral load testing, TB culture and rapid diagnostic techniques, and HIV resistance capabilities. The most important role CFAR has played is in creating the clinical care protocols and infrastructure to support the rollout of the PEPFAR program via CIDRZ and the Zambian Ministry of Health. Using this remarkable system, the PEPFAR program in Lusaka now operates in 46 community clinics and has evaluated over 165,000 HIV infected patients, placing over 100,000 of them on ARV treatment. The CIDRZ team, since 1999, has evaluated over 500,000 pregnant women for prevention of mother-to-child transmission and prevented tens of thousands of infants from becoming HIV infected. The CFAR helped create the proper infrastructure to support DAIDS-sponsored Network clinical trials and a specimen repository that is used to support the clinical-translational studies in Lusaka, helping to establish bidirectional research and training opportunities between Zambian and UAB investigators.
The Specific Aims of the 1C for this next project period are: 1) To develop further the CFAR/CIDRZ specimen repository in order to provide patient samples to investigators with high-quality research ideas, with a focus on projects most relevant to Zambia; 2) To develop further the CFAR/CIDRZ data repository in order to provide analysis datasets and analytic support to investigators with high-quality research ideas, paying special attention to junior investigators and Zambian investigators; 3) To provide bidirectional training in clinical and basic science research for Birmingham-based CFAR Members and Zambian Investigators; 4) To provide leadership and strategic planning for CIDRZ and other CFAR collaborators in Zambia through support of the CIDRZ Scientific Advisory Committee. The measures for success for the 1C will be the number of new programs initiated and supported, numbers of new grant proposals submitted including Developmental Grant proposals, numbers of publications from ongoing projects, the number of new Zambian investigators trained by the Core and their productivity, and the contributions by other UAB groups or centers to the overall 1C effort.
HIV is a global pandemic that affects millions of people world-wide. The hardest hit area of the world is Sub-Saharan Africa. Our effort to combat AIDS in Zambia places us in the heart of the epidemic, where coordinated research, treatment, and prevention efforts are desperately needed.
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