SAMRC revives HIV vaccine trial site in the Eastern Cape

Durban South Africa | The South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC) has committed R2.6 million, in 2016/17, to reviving an HIV Vaccine Research Unit at the Walter Sisulu University (WSU) together with the HIV Vaccine Trials Network.

The investment is aimed at improving clinical research capacity and will see the new unit (Nelson Mandela Academic Clinical Research Unit) at the University join the HIV Vaccine Trials Network (HVTN) in conducting HIV vaccine trials in the Eastern Cape.

The SAMRC has committed a total of R14.5 million in funds for capacity development at WSU, R5.6 million of which is directed to HIV research. While R2.6 million will be allocated to the re-development of an HIV vaccine trial site in Mthatha, R 3 million will be directed to determining HIV incidence in trauma units in hospitals and clinics in the Eastern Cape.

The investment is managed by the SAMRC’s Grants, Innovation and Product Development division with funding from the South African AIDS Vaccine initiative (SAAVI) supplementing an already substantial portfolio in HIV projects which range from HIV diagnostics, HIV therapeutics, to HIV vaccines and HIV prevention.

“The announcement of the large scale vaccine trial that is to launch in South Africa is a crucial step in HIV prevention research, it is imperative that we make solid attempts in including the entire landscape of the country in these trials, “says SAMRC President Professor Glenda Gray. “We are pleased that the Walter Sisulu University will be making history in the Eastern Cape. We know that a safe and effective vaccine could bring an end to the HIV/AIDS pandemic.”

This new vaccine study, called HVTN 702, is designed to determine whether a vaccine regimen adapted from the Thai R144 study is safe, tolerable and effective in preventing HIV infection among South African adults. The trial is scheduled to begin in November 2016, pending regulatory approval.

Release date: 
Thursday, July 21, 2016 - 10:10
Keletso Ratsela
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