The Department of Retrovirology, established in 1993, takes a key role in HIV vaccine development efforts and works closely with the U.S. Military HIV Research Program and multiple Thai partners. The Department also supports product development to mitigate the impact of other emerging infectious diseases to protect the U.S. military and promote global health. HIV remains a significant danger to U.S. Service Members, posing a major threat to the safety of the walking blood bank and creating a large, long-term financial burden on health systems.


Laboratory operations are housed in the HIV Vaccine Research Center of Excellence including the AFRIMS Retrovirology Clinical Laboratory and the Specimen Processing Laboratory facility, an archiving facility which allows for the safe storage of up to three million specimens. The Cellular and Humoral Immunology Laboratory is a leader in vaccine immunomonitoring research and focuses on assessing mucosal immune responses as a key to prevent HIV transmission. The Non-human Primate Laboratory focuses on pre-clinical studies of HIV and emerging infectious diseases.


The ACRL provides diagnostic testing services in compliance of the good clinical laboratory practices and other international standards. The laboratory has been accredited and certified by various international agencies including the College of American Pathologists since 2002, the U.S. DD Clinical Laboratory Improvement Program since 2010 and the National Institutes of Health Division of AIDS since 2010. The SPL is not only a part of departmental CAP accreditation, but its performance is also met the requirements of the AIDS Clinical Trials Group and the International Maternal Pediatric Adolescent AIDS Clinical Trials Group to isolate and store peripheral blood mononuclear cells.


These resources enable the Department of Retrovirology to be a world-renowned leader in efforts to understand HIV transmission and pathogenesis, develop an effective vaccine and inform new strategies for prevention, care and treatment. Between 2004 and 2009, the Department of Virology helped lead the pivotal RV144 “Thai trial”, the first clinical trial to show modest efficacy in preventing HIV infection. Study results showed that a preventive HIV vaccine is possible and the landmark trial continues to provide scientific direction to help guide vaccine development and testing.

Partnerships and Collaborations:
Retrovirology works with partners across Southeast Asia and around the world including partner militaries, U.S. government and DOD agencies, non- and intergovernmental organizations, academic universities and industry laboratories including: 
  • U.S. Military HIV Research Program
  • Institute of HIV Research and Innovation
  • Southeast Asia Research Collaboration in HIV
  • Thai Red Cross AIDS Research Centre
  • Royal Thai Army
  • Thai Ministry of Public Health
  • Mahidol University
  • Chiang Mai University Research Institute for Health Sciences
  • Among others
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