About Us

BRILLIANT Consortium

The BRILLIANT Consortium (BRinging Innovation to cLinical and Laboratory research to end HIV In Africa through New vaccine Technology), is a Cooperative Agreement with the US Agency for International Development and kicked off in September 2023. 

BRILLIANT constitutes a multi-disciplinary collaboration with partners and collaborators from Nigeria, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Mozambique, South Africa and Internationally with the overall objective of developing and evaluating HIV vaccine candidates emanating from the African continent. The consortium has extensive expertise in HIV vaccine and prevention research, HIV therapeutic research including analytical treatment interruption, HIV immunogen discovery, and First in Human (FIH) experimental HIV vaccine research.

The consortium is led by the South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC) and is supported by a robust network of diverse community organizations.

BRILLIANT will evaluate both “First in Africa” (FIA) clinical development with existing immunogens and adjuvants, as well as FIH HIV vaccine discovery medicine studies of novel immunogens emanating from Africa.

Our aim is to move the HIV vaccine field forward by the rapid evaluation and optimizing immunogen design utilizing the experimental medicine clinical trial platform, referred to as HIV Discovery Research.

Vision, Mission & Aim

Our program will be underpinned by our established capabilities in:


clinical research that brings our community, regulatory and ethical stakeholders into the clinical development process as active participants; 


our clinical trial infrastructure, including the shipment and cold-chain handling and storage of investigational material;


our safety and immunogenicity laboratory infrastructure and quality assurance processes;


our statistical, data management system and safety monitoring processes; and


our ability to conduct high quality clinical trials.

We will spearhead vaccine development (including immunogen and adjuvant design and identification of appropriate platforms and delivery mechanisms); conduct preclinical studies to determine the safety, toxicity and immunogenicity of immunogens and adjuvants in animal studies; and finally conduct clinical trials using novel vaccine formulations, adjuvant combinations and delivery methods.


Our Specific Objectives

Partnering with civil society advocates, HIV-affected communities including those at-risk and PLWH, policymakers, and communicators to advance our HIV vaccine discovery program forward (Community Program).

Design and implement early-stage clinical trials using an HIV vaccine discovery approach with the aim of developing a broadly neutralizing antibody (bnAb) inducing HIV vaccine regimen. (Clinical Program).

Support laboratory development for safety, immunologic, and genomic investigations to assess B-cell and T-cell responses to HIV immunogens, and develop and test preclinical HIV vaccine immunogens using mRNA platforms (Laboratory and Vaccine Design Program).

Strengthen systems of collaboration for HIV vaccine research in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) and increase opportunities to advance the careers of promising SSA scientists and experts (Capacity Augmentation Program).


Preclinical and clinical studies including analysis of host-HIV and host-immunogen responses and the development of vaccine candidates will be conducted in our laboratories, with our partners, or with support from our collaborators. For the further development of vaccines, we will work with biotech companies like Afrigen and manufacturers such as Biovac to support the production of GMP-compliant material for human studies.