McGlynn is determined to find the HIV vaccine. World Aids Day Supplement
Publish Date: Dec 02, 2011
Shialendraumar Lal
  • mail
  • img

Uganda Virus Research Institute (UVRI) at Entebbe is one of the leading HIV research institutes in Uganda. Its main partner, International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) is based in New York, USA. IAVI’s new CEO, Margie McGlynn was in Uganda last month and gave Halima Shaban an exclusive interview

Qn: How did you end up IAVI CEO?

I have been in the pharmaceutical industry for 26 years. My father was a pharmacist and I lost my two sisters and a brother to preventable diseases. In my previous portfolio, I had a measles vaccine and measles has virtually been eliminated in many countries. I want to do the same for HIV.

Qn: What is your vaccine experience?

I am an experienced biopharmaceutical executive with expertise in the vaccine and antiretroviral markets. I spent 26 years with Merck where
I launched several initiatives to provide access for Merck vaccines and HIV therapies in the developing world.
 After 2009, I became President, Global Vaccines and Anti-Infectives, with a $7b portfolio of products.
I also served on the board and executive committee of the GAVI alliance which provides life-saving vaccines against common infectious diseases.
I also played a major role in the formation of the Hilleman Centre, a research centre focused on developing new vaccines for the developing world.

Qn: Impressive! Ugandans want to know, will there be an HIV vaccine in our lifetime?

Absolutely! I am committed to that. I do not think we need events for a wheel chair before getting into an office chair. I cannot give a time line. It is not in the next few years but the biggest opportunity has already come with the studies in Bangkok which demonstrated 30% efficacy and subsequent trials are now planned in Bangkok and South Africa. We need to follow the lead we have to see an HIV vaccine over our life time.

Qn: What is your biggest challenge?

It is at a science level. The HIV keeps on changing and so our target changes consistently.  Even if your body develops a new response, the virus changes its attack. It also attacks the immune cells, which are the very cells you need to fight it. Apart from the science, there is the funding problem.

Qn: How will you manage with the global financial crisis?

I believe if IAVI continues to demonstrate value through successful studies, protocols and clinical trials, we will continue to be well positioned as a high quality product development partnership.
If we show that we can help turn promising vaccine concepts into products, funders will appreciate our importance

Qn: Are you satisfied with the facilities at UVRI?

Oh yes I am. The clinical trial facilities and the laboratory facilities are first class and have a tremendous face upon which to build for the future. The staff is very dedicated and the leaders are very passionate.

Qn: What would you like to improve?

One of my highest priorities is to make sure IAVI continues to partner successfully with all other key participants in the quest for an HIV vaccine. We are combining efforts because we have formidable challenges and we continue working, contacting each other and finding signs across our capabilities in programmes that can lead to the development of a vaccine in the shortest time possible.

Qn: Any additional support you expect from Uganda?

The Government has been a very important partner. They have supported us in every study we want to do. So, I expect this support to continue in future.

The statements, comments, or opinions expressed through the use of New Vision Online are those of their respective authors, who are solely responsible for them, and do not necessarily represent the views held by the staff and management of New Vision Online.

New Vision Online reserves the right to moderate, publish or delete a post without warning or consultation with the author.Find out why we moderate comments. For any questions please contact

  • mail
  • img
blog comments powered by Disqus
Also In This Section
The Government of Uganda through the Ministry of Works and Transport is developing a Standard Gauge Railway (SGR). This will be a modern, high-capacity standard gauge railway system that is effi cient, reliable, safe and aff ordable for both freight and passengers...
Tuesday, 17th November, 2015 was World Prematurity Day. The day was commemorated in Lira District under the theme ‘Harnessing the Power of Communities and Partnerships to Prevent Preterm Birth and Improve Care in Uganda...
Jessica and her husband, a tailor, were living in near poverty in Katakwi. Her husband had a low income from his tailoring business and Jessica was working at restaurant as a waiter for shs.500 (fi ve hundred shillings) per a day between 2005 and 2008....
TEN years ago, SKenya Motors (U) Ltd launched its operations in Uganda, importing Scania trucks and buses. Last week, the firm opened its new plant at Luzira Commercial Park, with the aim of expanding its operation, so as to become a major player in selling Scania buses and trucks in Uganda...
FINCA Uganda is a subsidiary of FINCA International, which serves nearly two million clients in 23 countries across five continents. FINCA Uganda is a unique organisation....
As StarTimes celebrates five years in Uganda, Owen Wagabaza interviewed Aldrine Nsubuga, the Marketing Director, about their successes far, challenges and future plans...
Related Stories
Is Uganda ready for the pope's visit?
Can't Say
follow us
subscribe to our news letter