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BRILLIANT Consortium holds its first in-person meeting in Cape Town, South Africa

BRILLIANT Consortium

On the 22 and 23 January 2024, the BRILLIANT (BRinging Innovation to cLinical and Laboratory research to end HIV In Africa through New vaccine Technology) Consortium held its first in-person meeting in Cape Town, South Africa.

As background, the BRILLIANT Consortium was awarded funding amounting to US $45.6 million over a period of 5 years by USAID (US Agency for International Development) through a Cooperative Agreement with the SAMRC as the lead organisation. The partners in the consortium are from 8 African countries viz. South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya, Mozambique, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. This funding is for African institutions and scientists, to lead the discovery, design and testing of HIV vaccine candidates and will provide even more opportunities for scientists across sub-Saharan Africa to advance HIV vaccine research and development and leverage the lessons learned from decades of U.S. government investments.

The purpose of the meeting was for members from the consortium organisations, representatives from USAID, collaborators (both current and potential) in the programme, and other stakeholders, including the US Health Attache, Gates Foundation, National Department of Health, and Department of Science and Innovation, to come together to discuss and share information and knowledge on ongoing activities within the overall programme, particularly focusing on Year 1 work plans of the consortium.

Prof Glenda Gray, Programme Director of the BRILLIANT Consortium said “BRILLIANT is an exciting scientific endeavour which will hopefully lead to a better understanding of HIV and what we as scientists need to do to find an effective HIV Vaccine”.

Dr. Ashley C. Lima, USAID project lead for BRILLIANT added “BRILLIANT represents USAID’s commitment to shifting leadership of the programs it supports to the people and institutions capable of driving change in their own countries. We are thrilled to partner with trailblazing scientists across sub-Saharan at the forefront of HIV vaccine research and development and leading in the global fight against HIV.

As almost two-thirds of new HIV infections occur in sub-Saharan Africa, it is critical that African scientists lead this project. This award will broaden the field of partners and allow for greater leveraging of local resources, creative collaborations, and innovative science, which may be the source of a real breakthrough toward a safe and effective HIV vaccine.