Trials of Excellence in Southern Africa (TESA) network was launched in 2009, during the European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP) phase 1. At this stage, nine institutions from six different countries from Southern Africa were part of this consortium whose aim was to creating a framework for collaboration, capacity building and training among member institutions. Currently, TESA II, incorporating thirteen institutions from eight Southern African and four European countries, which are predisposed to strengthen clinical research capacities in Southern Africa, as well as to increase North-South South- South networks among member institutions.
TESA II is a regional research network of Southern Africa Countries, with the objectives to build clinical trials’ capacity and infrastructure by mentoring and training the existing capacities among the researchers, clinicians and laboratory technicians to conduct trials in line with ethical guidelines and Good Clinical Practices. TESA II focuses on capacity building for clinical trials and infrastructure among its partner organizations, and additionally intend to improve the cooperation and networking of clinical research teams conducting baseline studies on infectious diseases of HIV / AIDS, TB and Malaria.


Under the TESA II network, 3 Referral Laboratories are intended to be established and 1 reference data center. This ref lab will serve as training platforms for less experienced network members:

• Malaria – Manhiça Health Research Centre (CISM)
• HIV – Botswana–Harvard AIDS Institute Partnership (BHP)
• TB – Stellenbosch University (SUN)


Manhiça Health Research Centre (CISM): Malaria the laboratory works in accordance with Good Clinical Laboratory Practices (GCLP) and standardized operating procedures (SOP) and obtained ISO 9001:2008 certification in 2009. The laboratory also uses a laboratory information system (Servolab®) that records all processes and sample storage in addition to special software (LabManagerPlus®) for managing laboratory stock. It now counts on a new BSL-3 for TB diagnosis: This is one of the few such facilities in the country and has significantly improved the tuberculosis diagnosis capacities of the centre. It also has several units such as Parasitology, Biochemistry and hematology, Bacteriology, Immunology, Molecular Biology and Quality Assurance and Bio-Safety Unit.The Botswana–Harvard HIV Reference Laboratory (BHHRL): HIV the BHP includes the Botswana–Harvard HIV Reference Laboratory (BHHRL) which was built for BHP by the government of Botswana. The laboratory area consists of 18 rooms with different functions. Research capacity in place includes PBMC isolation, freezing and storage, virus isolation and co-culture, DNA isolation, amplification, cloning and sequencing, qualitative and quantitative PCR, detuned ELISA, high and low resolution HLA typing, and functional immunologic assays. Quality remains a key element in the oversight of BHP program. The NIH division of AIDS has been successfully auditing the Botswana Harvard HIV Reference Laboratory. The Laboratory is also under SANAS ISO 17025 accreditation. The laboratory has successfully supported clinical trials and scientific development and training for laboratory based scientist.Stellenbosch University (SUN): TB Stellenbosch performs laboratory tests which are cross-cutting for the three poverty-related disease. It is necessary to remember that SUN laboratory was accredited (ISO15189) partially funded by TESA I, thus we are utilizing gains from TESA I for TESA II. SUN-IRG also has full access to the assistance and expertise of the SUN Central Analytical Facility (CAF) unit. CAF consists of a Cell Imaging Unit, offering a professional service in both flow cytometry and fluorescent microscopy.All staff involved in clinical and laboratory research activities have been GCP and/or GCLP trained. SUN has an internal training and competency schedule that facilitates the training of laboratory personnel in various laboratory techniques and recruiting personnel in activities related to clinical research.

Partnering institutions

  • Botswana
    • Botswana Harvard HIV/AIDS Partnership (BHP)
  • Malawi
    • Malawi College of Medicine (Malawi-CoM)
  • Mozambique
    • Centro de Investigação em Saúde da Manhiça (CISM)
  • South Africa
    • South African Medical Research Council: Tuberculosis Research Unit (TBRU)
    • Stellenbosch University Immunology Research Group (SUN-IRG)
    • University of Cape-Town Lung Institute (UCT-LUNG)
    • University of Cape Town- Division of Clinical Pharmacology (UCT-PHARM)
  • Zambia
    • University of Zambia –University Teaching Hospital (UN-ZAM)
  • Zimbabwe
    • University of Zimbabwe College of Health Sciences (UZ-CHS)
    • Biomedical Research and Training Institute (BRTI)