Kenya AIDS Vaccine Initiative (KAVI) was established in 1998 as a research unit within the

Department of Medical Microbiology, College of Health Sciences, University of Nairobi, with

an initial mission to conduct basic research in epidemiology of HIV and to carryout HIV/AIDs

vaccine trials.


Over the years, KAVI experienced tremendous growth as a result of sustained funding, hence

the development of human capacity, infrastructure and community mobilization catchment

areas. By 2013, KAVI as a research unit had successfully undertaken eight HIV vaccine trials,

two drug trials, thirteen epidemiological and basic research projects in addition to pioneering

the development of mucosal sampling and standardization of mucosal immune assays. KAVI

has also greatly assisted in the development of human capacity within the East African region

by training various Institutional Ethics boards and clinical research personnel on research

ethics, Good Clinical Practice (GCP) and Good Clinical and Laboratory Practice (GCLP). KAVI

has also been involved in the strengthening of Laboratory management systems of various

health institutions to prepare the institutions for accreditation.

This exceptional growth has brought about the transition from KAVI to KAVI-Institute of

Clinical Research (KAVI–ICR). Indeed, KAVI-ICR is established on a strong foundation that

includes more than a decade of clinical research, community engagement, the existence of a

GCLP accredited laboratory facility and a modern information communication technology unit.

The proximity to the country’s largest referral hospital and access to a well-established ethics

and research committee are some of the additional advantages.


Based on this foundation, KAVI-ICR aims to be a global research hub at the College of Health

Sciences, University of Nairobi. In this context, the term ‘global’ is used to denote a focus on

health issues that bring together a combination of skills, science and activities directed at

research and training as well as maintenance and improvement of health of all people through a

collective effort.


KAVI’s skill base was predominantly in the area of infectious diseases in particular

HIV/AIDS. However KAVI – ICR will undertake research not only in infectious diseases but

also non-infectious disease. To achieve this, KAVI-ICR will collaborate with other departments

within the College of Health Sciences and the wider University of Nairobi Community. In

addition KAVI–ICR will partner with other local and international Institutions in order to

leverage the necessary skills in the advancement of research and control of communicable and

non-communicable diseases.


KAVI-ICR has two research sites – KAVI-KNH (located at the Kenyatta National Hospital,

Medical School campus, University of Nairobi) and KAVI-Kangemi (located 10 km from the

Nairobi city centre and within the Kangemi Health Centre) which is a community health facility

established by the City Council of Nairobi.