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RV 217

Early Capture HIV Cohort Study (ECHO)

Since 2009, MHRP has led an ambitious multi-site study in East Africa that follows a group of high-risk volunteers, tracks their HIV status and characterizes progression through the acute stages of HIV infection. This prospective study has captured samples from some of the earliest stages of HIV infection – in some cases within days – along with blood samples before infection.

More than 2,000 volunteers have been enrolled in the study and 115 incident cases observed. Volunteers are enrolled before they begin to show detectable HIV antibodies, and if they are subsequently found to be HIV-positive, they are closely monitored for markers of disease progression.

MHRP researchers at WRAIR are exploring immune responses during this early phase of infection, along with genetic changes in the virus. The success of the study in collecting these unique samples has also attracted world renowned scientists to work as collaborators on the analysis of samples.