OUR PROGRAMME IS SCIENCE DIRECTED...

The Vaccine Research Hub (VRH) provides a coordinated, comprehensive approach to the full vaccine value chain as is primarily relevant to South African requirements, with a broader lens of the African health catchment.

THE VACCINE RESEARCH HUB

The Vaccine Research Hub (VRH) provides a coordinated, comprehensive approach to the full vaccine value chain as is primarily relevant to South African requirements, with a broader lens of the African health catchment. To be comprehensive, the VRH develops competence for all vaccine platforms and antigen candidates, but with a focus on newer technologies and vaccines relevant to regional pandemic disease. The VRH is scientist-directed and structured as a Centre within the University of Witwatersrand (Wits), operating as a Division within Wits Health Consortium (WHC), a wholly owned company of Wits. The VRH is directed by a Scientific Board with Professor Shabir Madhi (Professor of Vaccinology) as Chair, with an Executive Committee charged with the daily VRH operations. 

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VRH Programmes

  • Research and Development
  • Disease Surveillance
  • Pandemic Response
  • Translational Research
  • Vaccine Production
  • Clinical Research support & clinical trials network
  • Policy Development
  • Regulatory Support
  • Advocacy

Vaccine Research Hub Scientific Team

  • Professor Shabir A. Madhi
    Professor Madhi is Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of the Witwatersrand. A National Research Foundation A-rated scientist. Professor of Vaccinology in the School of Pathology at the University of the Witwatersrand and Director of the world-renowned Medical Research Council Vaccines and Infectious Diseases Analytics Research Unit (VIDA). National Research Foundation/Department of Science and Innovation SARChI Chair in Vaccine Preventable Diseases. Co-Director of African Leadership in Vaccinology Expertise (ALIVE).
  • Professor Patrick Arbuthnot
    Patrick Arbuthnot is Personal Professor and Director of the Antiviral Gene Therapy Research Unit of the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) in South Africa. After graduating with a medical degree from Wits, Patrick Arbuthnot completed a PhD in 1992. From 1993 to 1994, he worked as a post-doctoral researcher at Necker Hospital in Paris, and investigated the development of gene therapy for treating liver cancer and hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection. On returning to South Africa, Patrick Arbuthnot established the Antiviral Gene Therapy Research Unit. This unit is now a Centre of Excellence of the African Network for Drug and Diagnostic Innovation (ANDI)
  • Professor Bavesh Kana 
    Director: Centre of Excellence for Biomedical TB Research Research Associate: Centre for the AIDS Programme of Research in South Africa (CAPRISA) Research Fellow: Stellenbosch University Consultant: South African Medical Research Council External Consultant: Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Medical Research Institute (Boston, USA) Member of the Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf), University of the Witwatersrand and the National Health Laboratory Service (NHLS)
  • Professor Yahya E. Choonara  
    Professor Yahya E. Choonara is currently Chair and Head of the Department of Pharmacy and Pharmacology at the University of the Witwatersrand (WITS), Johannesburg, South Africa (SA). He is a Professor of Pharmaceutics, Head of Pharmaceutics and Director of the Wits Advanced Drug Delivery Platform (WADDP) research unit and National Research Foundation (NRF) Chair in Pharmaceutical Biomaterials and Polymer-Engineered Drug Delivery Technologies.”
  • Dr Kuben Naidoo  
    Dr Kubendran Naidoo studied biology at the University of the Witwatersrand, graduating with BSc and Honours degrees in 2001 and 2002. In 2003, Kubendran joined National Health Laboratory Service (NHLS) as a medical scientist in the Department of Molecular Medicine and Haematology where he performed research on malaria and disorders of the red cell membrane. The unit became part of the Wits Research Institute for Malaria (WRIM). Kubendran completed his PhD in 2012 (membrane biogenesis and energy production of the malaria parasite). In 2017, he moved to the Antiviral Gene Therapy Research Unit (AGTRU) and continued research on the significance of pathogen-induced modifications to its host cell. In 2021, Kuben was appointed the tech transfer scientific team lead to explore the utility of a yeast protein expression cell line in the production therapeutic proteins and vaccines in South Africa, to prevent important infectious diseases.
  • Professor Penelope Moore  
    • South African Research Chair of Virus-Host Dynamics and Reader
    • Associate Professor at the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa
    • Joint appointment as CAPRISA Honorary Senior Scientist in Virus-Host Dynamics at the Centre for the AIDS Programme of Research (CAPRISA), University of Kwazulu-Natal
    • Adjunct Member at the Institute of Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine, University of Cape Town.
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Dyadic International, Inc. Platform

Dyadic International, Inc. is a global biotechnology company focused on deploying its proprietary C1-cell protein production platform to accelerate development, lower production costs and improve the performance of biologic vaccines and drugs. Dyadic International, Inc. has developed its gene expression platform based on the fungus Thermothelomyces heterothallica (formerly Myceliophthora thermophila), named C1. The C1 microorganism, which enables the development and large-scale manufacture of low-cost proteins, has the potential to be further developed into a safe and efficient expression system that may help speed up the development, lower production costs and improve the performance of biologic vaccines and drugs at flexible commercial scales. RUBIC One Health and Dyadic International, Inc. have partnered to further develop the C-1 cell protein production platform for use in developing and manufacturing safe and effective vaccines. If successful, such vaccines can be manufactured rapidly and affordably, in very large quantities.

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