Thumbi Ndung’u

SANTHE Collaborative Grant Awardee,
SANTHE Consortium Steering Committee Member,
SANTHE Programme Director

Africa Health Research Institute (AHRI), Durban, South Africa


Characterising currently circulating HIV in rural forest areas of Cameroon, where ancestors of HIV-1 have been identified

Blood biomarkers that prospectively predict acute HIV-1 infection in high-risk adults

Collaboration Interests
  • COVID-19 immunology
  • Disease Prevention & Control including HIV, COVID and TB vaccine research
  • TB
  • Translational research collaborative networks focusing on HIV & TB

Thumbi Ndung’u has a laboratory at the Africa Health Research Institute (AHRI) in Durban, South Africa, and also runs the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s HIV Pathogenesis Programme (UKZN HPP). He is interested in understanding antiviral immune mechanisms and viral adaptation in HIV-1 subtype C infection as a pathway to vaccine development. The development of a safe, affordable, and efficacious HIV-1 vaccine is perhaps the defining scientific challenge of our time. Rational vaccine design will require a better understanding of immune correlates of HIV-1 protection or control. His laboratory focuses on individuals who remain HIV negative despite possible repeated exposure to the virus and those infected who achieve durable viral control without the help of antiretroviral therapies. These individuals may hold the key to vaccine development or novel therapies.

SANTHE is an Africa Health Research Institute (AHRI) flagship programme funded by the Science for Africa Foundation through the DELTAS Africa programme; the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; Gilead Sciences Inc.; and the Ragon Institute of Mass General, MIT, and Harvard.