UGANDA: AIDS Vaccine trials get a boost as thousands volunteer to participate

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Human trials of potential HIV Vaccine started this week in Uganda; Online Photo

As scientists in Uganda test the new HIV vaccine known as “PrEPVacc” for its efficacy in the prevention of HIV, at the same time, a second test is being done on a new form of daily oral pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP).

Prof. Pontiano Kaleebu, the Director of Uganda Virus Research Institute-URVI/MRC and chief investigator in the PrEPVacc trial says the testing which began on Tuesday at a research site in Masaka, will be clustered in five groups ranging between 18 to 40 years of age from HIV high-risk communities in Uganda, Mozambique, Tanzania and South Africa.

Professor Kareebu says that they are going to run a two-ways prevention study that will include administering of both oral PrEP and injectable vaccine within the same trial, adding that in the first phase of six months, the selected volunteers are going to be monitored for their responses.

Already, more than one thousand volunteers have been enrolled to participate in another version of the HIV vaccine trial conducted by Ugandan scientists at the Medical Research Council-MRC.

Dr Kareebu adds that such a significant HIV vaccine trial conducted in Uganda presented to them two great opportunities which include growing their capacities in conducting big studies as well as earning confidence in the scientific research world.

He also notes that the PrEPVacc trial has made history as this is the first time UVRI gets at a stage of testing HIV vaccine efficacy, the third phase in the process of vaccines development and is it is also the first of its kind in the whole region of East Africa.

He describes the trial as an African-led HIV vaccine efficacy trial which is directly coordinated by Ugandan scientists and one of its kind to be conducted outside the United States of America.

Doctor Eugene Muzagira, the Director and Chief Investigator of the study explains that they have been preparing for this efficacy trial since 2018.

He adds that they have also since completed several preparatory and early-phase studies in which they have also prepared the communities for the process and meeting the scientific regulatory requirements.

The PrEPVacc trial, a scientific study funded by the European Union and Development Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP) will according to its design run-up to March 2023, when it results are expected

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