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BARC Announces Long-Term Cooperation In South African Biobanking for HIV Vaccine Trials
Date:5/21/2008

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, May 21 /PRNewswire/ -- BARC, a global central laboratory today announced a broad biobanking agreement to support HIV vaccine trials currently being performed in South Africa by the HIV Vaccine Trials Network (HVTN).

The HVTN vaccine trials are designed to answer scientific questions that will advance knowledge and ultimately lead to a safe and effective vaccine to prevent HIV infection. The HVTN is supported through a cooperative agreement with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, a component of the U.S. National Institutes of Health. HVTN trials in South Africa are conducted in conjunction with the South African AIDS Vaccine Initiative.

Since October last year, BARC has performed peripheral blood mononuclear cell (PBMC)-isolation services for the HVTN HIV vaccine trials at various locations in South Africa. Under the new agreement, these services are extended to include the biobanking management services for all HVTN-related vaccine projects in South Africa. It is expected that during the next five years, hundreds of thousands of samples will be handled and managed at BARC's facilities in Johannesburg.

For this operation, BARC South Africa will be increasing its capacity and space of its premises in Johannesburg. In addition to its offices there, BARC also has important lab facilities in Durban, Cape Town, and Pretoria.

Julie McElrath, Director of the HVTN laboratory program said, "This agreement with BARC ensures that these clinical trials can be carried out in a cost-effective manner according to the highest quality standards expected by the international AIDS research community."

According to Dr. Peter Cole, the CEO of BARC South Africa, "This agreement provides BARC with the opportunity to make a major contribution towards the development of an HIV vaccine to help prevent the spread of AIDS in Africa. At the same time, this agreement expands BARC's role in South Africa a
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SOURCE BARC Central Laboratory
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