Kapaata is interested in HIV cure from the aspect of understanding the replicative fitness of the transmitted/founder virus during the acute phase of HIV-1 infection. The transmitted/founder virus is that single virus that crosses the different barriers and establishes an infection in the recipient out of the many viruses that exist in the donor. She will be examining how replicative fitness of the transmitted/ founder affects the immune system and progression to HIV disease over time. She will be using samples from sero-discordant couples who have been followed up till they sero-convert to address her objectives. The identification of biological properties that are key for transmission/pathogenesis would represent targets for rational vaccine and drug design. A panel of infectious molecular clones representing viruses being transmitted and circulating in well-characterised high-risk human populations in Uganda are valuable biological reagents for this and others studies because they are examples of natural targets of a vaccine candidate. Elucidation of the biological determinants of transmission and virulence would provide targets for rational vaccine and drug design, specifically for subtypes A and D as well as AD recombinants which dominate in Uganda.