The heart of Botswana Harvard AIDS Institute Partnership (BHP) operations is the busy, three-story building on the grounds of Princess Marina, the main public hospital in Gaborone. The crowded research building houses the Botswana- Harvard HIV Reference Laboratory, the Data Management Centre, and office space for BHP staff.
The ground floor of the building serves as the central lab for processing the high volume of clinical specimens generated by Botswana’s national program to diagnose and treat those with HIV. Tests are automated and include HIV RNA PCR, viral load, CD4/CD8 counts by flow cytometry, serological ELISA assays, and routine chemistry and hematology.
In addition to offices, the top two floors house BHP research labs and a BL3 facility for virus isolation and culture. Over 1.5 million samples are stored in 60 freezers for possible use in future studies. In addition to its research role, the BHP also serves as a training facility for biomedical researchers and laboratory technicians.
“The clinical laboratory is accredited, which assures that the quality of the work that we do meets international standards, such that the results that are generated from the lab can be trusted globally,” said Dr. Simani Gaseitsiwe, BHP’s Laboratory Director.