Studying HIV Diversity in Multi-Clade Regions

In the southernmost countries of Africa, where the AIDS epidemic is due almost exclusively to clade C HIV strains, the highly politicized issue of clades and vaccines has usually boiled down to decisions on whether to conduct trials only of candidates that closely match strains circulating locally, or to consider studies involving unmatched clades as well. But in other parts of Africa, HIV diversity is far higher—shifting the focus of the debate from the issue of getting a close match onto understanding how to induce the broadest possible protection.

Here, we profile two clinical research sites—one in the highlands of Tanzania, the other in Cameroon’s capital city. Both are in countries with an especially broad diversity of circulating HIV strains. And both have made tackling this diversity a cornerstone of their vaccine program.

Tanzania: At the Crossroads of Africa's Major Clades
Cameroon: "Final Common Pathway" for a Global Vaccine