Cape Town HVTN Immunology Laboratory

Cape Town HVTN Immunology Laboratory (CHIL)


The HIV Vaccine Trials Network (HVTN) conducts clinical trials world-wide with the purpose of developing a safe and efficacious vaccine to prevent HIV-1 infection. Southern Africa bears the highest burden of HIV disease and is therefore a focus for many of the current and upcoming HIV vaccine clinical trials. To measure immune responses to the trial vaccines, the HVTN requires a local high quality GCLP-certified laboratory that can evaluate immune responses from relevant specimens obtained from the southern African clinical trial sites.

The HVTN Laboratory in Cape Town, South Africa will:

  • provide local laboratory analysis of specimens from vaccine trials
  • facilitate training of local and/or international scientists who wish to learn specialized clinical trial assay techniques
  • allow closer collaboration with South African researchers in the development of an HIV vaccine.

The Cape Town HVTN Immunology Laboratory (CHIL) will perform validated GCLP-certified cellular endpoint assays on samples from clinical trial sites throughout Southern Africa. These critical data will help inform decisions on the advancement of new HIV vaccines. In addition, the laboratory will conduct studies to better understand how the whole body responds to vaccinations both in the first few days to weeks after vaccination and then years later.

The laboratory continues to seek out cross-institutional collaborations for research projects and training of local researchers. CHIL is supported by the Hutchinson Center Research Institute of South Africa (HCRISA), a non-profit South African entity established by the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and receives funding from institutions such as the US National Institutes of Health, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and the South African Medical Research Council. CHIL is a host laboratory to the South Africa Endpoints Assay Laboratory (SEAL) and the South African lab group of Aeras (


CHIL is looking to hire some of the best and brightest South African scientific and administrative staff to join our efforts.


Upcoming Trainings:
20-24 January 2015: Mucosal HIV Immunology Workshop

Click here for more details. Applications closed.

Past Trainings:
Pathway to an HIV Vaccine and the Role of Laboratory Science in Vaccine Trials (21-23 October, 2013)

Good Clinical Laboratory Practices and Peripheral Blood Mononuclear Cell Cryo-preservation Workshops
11 June 2014: GCLP Training
12-13 June 2014: PBMC Workshop

CHIL is a division of the Hutchinson Centre Research Institute South Africa