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Duke receives grant to test HIV vaccine quality

As part of a seven-year grant, Duke University Medical Center received $52.8 million from the National Institutes of Health to house a central quality assurance program for the testing of potential HIV vaccines.

According to The (Raleigh) News & Observer, Duke was chosen to conduct reliability and quality trials with vaccines as a part of the External Quality Assurance Program Oversight Laboratory, which is aimed at implementing and overseeing HIV/AIDS research and vaccine trials all over the world, the University announced Tuesday.

The grant will enable DUMC labs to produce and analyze data as vaccines and other HIV-related treatments are tested. In addition, the Duke laboratories will become the headquarters for information gathered from HIV research and studies around the world. Having one lab provide oversight for all data gathered through HIV tests should enhance the reliability of scientific findings, the News & Observer reported.

Thomas Denny, chief operating officer of the Duke Human Vaccine Institute, will head the new HIV vaccine laboratory.

“The absence of a single centralized laboratory makes it imperative that strict quality assurance standards and protocols are in place,” Denny said. “Patients, physicians and researchers all need to feel confident that a test on a blood sample performed in New York will yield the same results as the same test performed in London or South Africa as an example. Today, you might not find that.”

Duke is currently a member of the Center for HIV/AIDS Vaccine Immunology, which is a group of universities and academic medical centers that was established by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases under Dr. Barton Haynes, director of Duke’s HVI.

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