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Mw in Covid vaccine trial on HIV patients

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By Serah Chilora

Malawi will take part in a clinical trial that will evaluate the efficacy of Covid vaccine in people living with HIV and those with poorly controlled infections.

According to a communication from the Association of Clinical Research Professionals, the study, which will be conducted under the name Ubuntu, is the first study to evaluate the efficacy of vaccines—in this case Moderna— against the omicron variant.

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But Ministry of Health Director of Quality Management Services Joshua Matthias said the ministry had not received any proposal on this matter.

“We haven’t yet had a proposal because, usually, researchers take it as a proposal. As such, we have not received it. And our job is to approve it and, when it is done, improve the proviso of services through the findings,” he said.

The trial will be conducted in East and Southern Africa – regions that have been highly impacted by HIV. It is expected to enroll about 14,000 volunteers at 54 clinical research sites in South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, eSwatini, Malawi, Zambia, Uganda and Kenya, where adult HIV prevalence ranges from 4.5 percent to 27 percent.

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Epidemiologist Titus Divala said hosting clinical trials was a good idea, arguing that the country would know whether the vaccine is working in the population or not.

“Clinical trials are the type of research studies that are used for assessing benefits and harms of new vaccines, diagnostics and treatments. All the vaccines and treatments that went through clinical trials before ended up being approved or not.

“Hosting vaccine trials is a good idea because we will know whether the vaccine will work in our population. It is also my hope that the government will ask the involved pharmaceutical companies to commit a substantial quantity of doses to our population. These are the kinds of arrangements that can ensure that our people don’t just contribute to the science but also benefit from it,” he said.

Nigel Garrett, co-chair of the study and head of Vaccine and HIV Pathogenesis Research at the Centre for the Aids Programme of Research in South Africa, said the study borders on the interconnectedness of African nations and their collaborative efforts to combat HIV and Covid.

 

 

 

 

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