What does a vaccine do?

A vaccine tries to help the body to fight an infection it could come across in the future. Some vaccines do this by teaching the body's immune system how to fight, and other vaccines are antibodies to help with prevention.

What does PHRU Vaccines Research Centre do?

With the help of our trial participants, the Prevention Community Advisory Board (CAB) and our specialised vaccine research pharmacy, we lead ground-breaking work. We conduct Phase I, II, III and post-marketing clinical trials with volunteers of all ages for vaccines that aim to protect against Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), tuberculosis (TB) and influenza (flu). The PHRU Vaccines Research Centre was the first site in South Africa to conduct an HIV vaccine trial, and we also conducted the trials testing the first South-African-developed HIV vaccine candidate.

Is there really a vaccine which can help a person prevent getting HIV?

In 2009, the RV144 vaccine regimen used in the "Thai trial" provided Thai trial participants with some protection against HIV. Researchers have been working on improving the RV144 vaccine regimen for sub-Saharan Africa, hoping that protection could be better and more long-lasting. Dr Fatima Laher, who leads the PHRU Vaccines Research Centre, is the protocol co-chair of the clinical trial called HVTN 100 which studied the safety and immune responses of the changed vaccine amongst 252 volunteers in South Africa. The results look promising, and so she will co-chair an even larger study, called HVTN 702, to find out how well the vaccine really works.

In 2016, the PHRU Vaccines Research Centre was also the first African site to pioneer phase 2b trials of another type of vaccine strategy, "antibody-mediated prevention", led by Dr Erica Lazarus.


We partner with the HIV Vaccine Trials Network (HVTN), US National Institutes of Health, academic, pharmaceutical and publicly funded institutions.


Soweto Searches for an HIV Vaccine



Which New Health Technologies Do We Need to Achieve an End to HIV/AIDS?


Understanding HIV Vaccine Research


HVTN 100 Launches in South Africa