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All Profiles
Call Career Development Fellowship (CDF)
Programme EDCTP2
Start Date 2018-07-01
End Date 2021-06-30
Project Code TMA2016CDF1582
Status Active


Mucosal type I IFN desensitization and the risk of HIV acquisition


Aim 1a. To establish longitudinal patterns of IFNa2 expression in the FRT, and correlate these patterns to epidemiological variables. Aim 1b. To correlate high/low IFN status defined in Aim 1a with IFN responsiveness in mucosal HIV target cells ex vivo. Aim 1c. To correlate high/low IFN status defined in Aim 1a with altered HIV susceptibility of mucosal target cells in vitro.

Host Organisation

Institution Country
Centre for the Aids Programmes of Research in South Africa (CAPRISA) South Africa


Durban, South Africa

Students Supervised

Type Name Title University Start Date End Date
Honours Nokwanda Masondo Characterizing Type I IFN expression in mucosal samples from CAPRISA 082 study UKZN 2018 2019
Honours Nobuhle Dlamini Inflammatory plasma cytokine differences between sexes during active TB in IMPRESS UKZN 2019 2020

Results & Outcomes

This proposal aims to answer important questions regarding the role of antiviral interferon responses during HIV infection, characterizing both the causes and consequences of increased IFN production in the genital tract. In the first reporting period we have characterized the longitudinal expression of IFNs in mucosal specimens from the CAPRISA 082 cohort and correlated interferon expression with a number of epidemiological and biological variables in order to characterize the drivers of increased IFN expression. Additionally, this project provides a training platform for a number of undergraduate and graduate students from University of KwaZulu-Natal. This study will contribute toward an understanding of how basic immunological mechanisms are exploited by HIV. Interferon therapy and blockade has been unsuccessfully tested in various clinical trials for HIV treatment further highlighting the need to better understand the IFN-mediated antiviral immune responses at the initial site of infection in humans as this is crucial if antiviral properties of IFNs will be successfully exploited in HIV prevention strategies.

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