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Uganda Virus Research Institute


UVRI Director Speech At The Launch Of The NIH Laboratories At UVRI

The UVRI/NIH Laboratory Is Launched By The US Ambassador Natalie Brown



Your Excellence the USA Ambassador

Dr Charles Olaro, Director Clinical Services MOH, representing the Hon Minister

The Director General, UNHRO

Director, CDC

Deputy Director, Division of Intramural Research, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

All our guests from NIH and other institutions

UVRI colleagues and Partner organizations at UVRI

Senior colleagues from the Ministry of Health

Ladies and Gentlemen


I warmly welcome you to Uganda Virus Research Institute. As an Institution, we are very honoured to be openning these laboratories that will be conducting research on viruses of animal origin that infect humans.

With the recent global COVID-19/SARS CoV-2 pandemic, and the current Ebola out-break, many of us will have no doubt that research in this area is immense importance.

The world is now a global village, a disease outbreak in one part of the world could be spread to another continent in a matter of hrs.

In spite of all the advances made, new diseases, especially viral infections remain a major threat to our existence.

We therefore need research to find solutions.

For those new to UVRI, this is an old institution established in 1936 to study Yellow Fever.

The functions of our institution range from scientific knowledge generation into disease processes, knowledge to lead to prevention and better disease management, surveillance of diseases, outbreaks investigations, diagnostics, contributions to policy and knowledge translation and human and infrastructure capacity building.

We have different departments and host a number of reference laboratories including:

  • The viral heamorraghic fever viruses (VHF) lab
  • National reference laboratory for HIV diagnostics
  • National and regional reference laboratory for HIV drug resistance
  • A WHO Yellow Fever regional reference laboratory (only 2 in Africa)
  • A WHO Measles and Rubella Regional Reference laboratory
  • WHO Inter- country Polio laboratory
  • A National Influenza Center, and a WHO Influenza Collaborating Laboratory
  • National, WHO and Africa CDC COVID-19 reference laboratories
  • We are now in discussions to become the East African Community Center of Excellence in virology.


On this campus we have a number of other partners we collaborate with that have contributed to making UVRI a center of Excellence. These include

MRC/UVRI & LSHTM in existence since 1988.

USA CDC since 1994; UVRI-IAVI since 2001, NIH since 2016 and now we are strengthening our partnership with NIH.

There are other activities funded by other funders such as Welcome Trust, EDCTP, Abbott, Bill and Melinda Gates, WHO among others.


In conducting this work with NIH we will collaborate with others including MOH, other institutions, communities etc.


At UVRI we will finalize our coordination structures, we have proposed Dr Jonathan Kayondo to be our lead person who will work with the NIH team to come up with the work plans.


We look forward to true partnerships that will strengthen our capacity as we investigate diseases.

One attraction of the NIH is capacity building especially in basic research, NIH is the world’s top most research institution and with a track record of capacity building which we hope will be exemplified.


Before I end I wish to thank the out-going Director of NIAID Dr Tonny Fauci who has been a true friend of UVRI and has visited us a couple of times, with his last visit before the COVID-19 pandemic. We do thank him for the many years of service and dedication.

There are other scientists we have worked with over the years including Dr Tom Quinn present here. Many NIH scientists have contributed to building of capacity and collaborating with Rakai Health Sciences Programme.

We thank Dr Stephen Reynolds and his team here at UVRI.

We look forward to working with you.

Thank you!

 Prof. Pontiano Kaleebu

Entebbe, 18th October, 2022