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VITALITY PhD student, Karen Sichibalo presents at 4th Annual DZIF-DGI Conference, Stuttgart

This year’s German Centre for Infection Research (DZIF) and German Society for Infectious Disease (DGI) fourth joint annual conference was the first face to face meeting to be held since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic It took place in Stuttgart, Germany, 1st - 3rd June 2022.

Karen Sichibalo together with her poster. You can read more about Karen (and our other VITALITY students) in our section on Capacity Building.

Together, DZIF and DGI work in close collaboration in infection medicine and translational research at national and international level. The aim of this year’s annual meeting was to highlight existing parallels and stimulate further synergy and interactions, focusing on the four grand challenge areas in infection research, especially during successive poster sessions for each symposium.

Karen's poster presentation, entitled Impact of High Dose Vitamin D3 supplementation on Innate Immunity and Antimicrobial Responses in HIV-1 infected Adolescents on ART, took place during the immune therapy and prevention session.

Karen, an experienced Laboratory Scientist at the Centre for Family Health Research, Zambia, and a VITALITY affiliated PhD student, tells us about the experience in her own words:

"During the poster session, I presented my PhD work on the potential benefits of vitamin D3 supplementation in enhancing innate immunity responses against microbial infections and how vitamin D3 can be used as an immunomodulatory adjuvant therapy complementing ART in the HIV-1 infected adolescents."

"It was during this session that I also shared the importance of the ongoing VITALITY clinical trial and other sub-studies embedded in VITALITY. I further stressed on the huge health benefiting impact that a positive study trial outcome will have on adolescents living with HIV-1 especially in the Sub-Saharan region where HIV-1 and bacterial infections are endemic."

"Some of the discussion points were on the (1) risks associated with vitamin D deficiency in HIV-1 infected individuals and (2) the overlapping immunological effects of chronic immune dysfunction associated with HIV-1 and those linked to vitamin D deficiency and (3) as a host-directed approach, how vitamin D3 supplementation in adolescents with HIV-1 can improve; restore immune recovery, improve innate and adaptive immunity against microbial infections thereby encouraging the rational use of antibiotics and reducing the risk of developing antibiotic resistance and also improve musculoskeletal health. All of which contribute towards improving longevity and the quality of life in this cohort."

Karen, together with some of upcoming research scientists in the field of tropical and emerging infections from west and east Africa.

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Jun 14, 2022

This is indeed some tremendous work Karren. Honestly am short of words 🤭. Keep on doing what you love, the world is blessed to have you.👏👏👏




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