Originally integrated within a community at a local tea plantation in Kericho, the WRP HIV Program has developed expertise and infrastructure to support HIV vaccine, therapeutic and other infectious diseases research. In 2004, the program expanded to offer PEPFAR-supported HIV prevention, care, and treatment program and was one of the first programs in Africa to provide ART.
All WRP activities in Kenya are conducted under the U.S. Army Medical Research Unit–Kenya (USAMRU-K), which is on the campus of KEMRI in Nairobi. The HIV research and care programs are mutually synergistic with long-term capacity building and sustainability.
WRP has conducted diverse studies including randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled and IND/FDA-regulated studies. These studies include two vaccine trials and 12 HIV/AIDS and related opportunistic infections therapeutic studies, acute HIV infections, high- and a low-risk HIV infection cohort studies and four HIV/AIDS health economics studies in collaboration with Boston University.
WRP conducted a 36-month, prospective study aimed at estimating HIV prevalence, incidence, and molecular epidemiology called RV142. This study resulted in several publications including local populations lab reference ranges, circulating HIV clades, HIV incidence, risk factors, malaria and molecular epidemiology. Ongoing studies include:
- RV217 (ECHO): HIV-1 Prevalence, Incidence, Cohort Retention, and Host Genetics and Viral Diversity in High Risk Cohorts in East Africa
- An Immune Reconstitution Inflammatory Syndrome (IRIS) study, cinducted in collaboration with the Infectious Diseases Clinical Research Program (IDCRP)
AIDS Clinical Trials Group (ACTG)
The Kericho site started doing the National Institute of Health (NIH), Division of AIDS (DAIDS)/ AIDS Clinical trials Group (ACTG) funded studies in 2006 as a Clinical Research Site (CRS). In 2008, Kericho and Moi University in Eldoret became ACTG CRSs under the MHRP Clinical Trials Unit NIH. The Kericho site has participated in studies focusing on HIV treatment and management of co-morbidities such as TB, fungal infections and Kaposi's sarcoma.
National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) is sponsoring new studies focusing on prevention and management of HIV infection in mothers, pediatrics and adolescents.
- Conducted the first HIV vaccine study in Kericho to be held outside of Nairobi and the largest to date in Kenya
- Established Kenya’s first and only College of American Pathologist (CAP)-accredited laboratory
- Participated in a study that found starting antiretroviral therapy (ART) soon after beginning tuberculosis treatment can significantly reduce the onset of new AIDS-defining illness and death in those with advanced HIV. Results were published in NEJM in 2011
- Participated in the OCTANE Study, which was published in the NEJM in 2010 and influenced revision of WHO guidelines for treating some HIV-infected women
- Will begin a new Phase II Ebola vaccine study in 2017 (RV 456)
State-of-the-art Clinical Research Center
The state-of-the-art Kenya Medical Research Institute/Walter Reed Project Clinical Research Center opened in 2012. The CRC has three integrated main components: 1) HIV vaccine and therapeutics research, 2) HIV care, treatment and prevention and 3) enteric and microbiology research.