CategoriesWACI Health News

HIV Vaccine Will Pay Huge Dividends- INVEST NOW!

Of the estimated 36.7 million people living with HIV/AIDS globally in 2015, 25.6 million live in sub-Saharan Africa. Also, 1.37 million (65%) of 2.1 million new infections that occurred worldwide in 2015 occurred in sub-Saharan Africa. Sub-Sahara continues to bear the greatest burden of HIV infection. If we want to reverse this trend, there is a critical need to invest and scale up prevention and treatment of HIV.

A preventive HIV vaccine is an essential component of a long-term end to the HIV epidemic. Such a vaccine would teach the immune system to create responses that prevent the virus from establishing infection in the body. No licensed preventive HIV vaccine exists at present. However, there are ongoing efforts at developing a HIV vaccine. More than 30 years has been invested in HIV research efforts. Vaccine research is a long and enduring effort. The HIV vaccine and research development is not different.

An HIV vaccine is both possible and essential. In 2009, a clinical trial known as RV144 achieved proof-of-concept that a preventive HIV vaccine is possible, and, since then, researchers have continued to build on the results of that trial. There are three ongoing researches testing concepts for HIV vaccine development. These researches are taking place in countries in Africa and North America. However, if and when a HIV vaccine is developed, the product will and should be effective for all persons.

This is the goal of all stakeholders working in the field of HIV vaccine development. While we wait for a HIV vaccine, global coverage of HIV treatment, care and existing prevention options needs to continue to increase and expand; and we should witness less of new HIV infections and deaths from AIDS. The tools we have can make significant difference if we ensure they get into the hands of those who need it. These tools are making significant differences in country’s HIV epidemic profile when barriers to their access are addressed.

We need to support access of all persons to any HIV prevention tool appropriate for their use – preexposure prophylaxis, post exposure prophylaxis, STI diagnosis and treatment, male and female condoms, HIV treatment as soon after diagnosis. HIV vaccine development and eventual rollout of a successful vaccine requires sustained financial support. Developing a successful vaccine is not cheap, but an HIV vaccine will pay huge dividends in lives saved. Modeling research estimates that in some parts of the world, an effective HIV vaccine could reduce new annual HIV infections by nearly half in its first 10 years, averting tens of millions of infections. We can’t afford to slow down promising and urgently needed research.

AfNHi 1, recognizes the importance and place of HIV vaccine in the efforts towards ending HIV by 2030. The end of HIV is only feasible with a HIV vaccine. It will take concerted efforts from all partners to make the successful development, testing and rollout of a safe, effective, licensed HIV vaccine accessible. Civil Society has a role to play in leading the charge in this campaign. Funding product development and clinical trials alone is not enough. AfNHi encourages the investment of all stakeholders in the HIV vaccine research and development process NOW.

 

1 AfNHi is an African-led HIV Prevention Research Advocacy Network, whose vision is Africa Free of New HIV Infections.

CategoriesWACI Health News

Annual Report 2017

The global health landscape is changing. In less than two decades, the world has registered some of the most momentous advances against infectious diseases. Global partnerships against epidemics such as HIV, tuberculosis and malaria have galvanized remarkable amount of goodwill and resources that have significantly reduced the burden of these diseases. Those efforts have saved millions of lives globally. A new report by the Brookings shows that the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) spurred major accelerations in the fight against child mortality, HIV and AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. The Study found that through expansion and acceleration of pre-MDG rates of progress, between 21 and 29 million lives were saved.

Click Here to download Full Annual Report 2017

CategoriesWACI Health News

Researchers focus on eight potential HIV vaccines, so far none promises gleam future

Kenyan researchers are working on about eight potential HIV vaccines.None has shown efficacy, but scientists believe they are still potent if delivered efficiently into the body.And so they are not giving up.They have resolved to intensify their work and use other methods that will finally give the desired results.“Most of them were found to be safe, but failed to stimulate the body’s immune system,”

Borna Nyaoke, a clinical trial physician at the Kenya AIDS Vaccine Initiative, said yesterday.“Now we are trying different methods that can deliver it directly into the cell.”She said some of the new delivery methods include administering through nasal drops and electroporation, where the vaccine is given through a quick, high-voltage pulse to overcome the barrier of the cell membrane.

“We are working on a HIV vaccine. We will get it, but it will take time,” Nyaoke said during a world HIV Vaccine Awareness Day conference convened in Nairobi by WACI Health, a regional advocacy group. She said all the Kenyan vaccine candidates passed safety levels but stalled at Phase Two.Nyaoke said candidates would take at least another 10 years of testing even if scientists find a better delivery method. It is hard to make an HIV vaccine because the virus mutates quickly and a vaccine against one type may not protect against another.

Vaccines work by mimicking natural infections, during which the body produces antibodies that kill the virus.But HIV doesn’t stimulate this kind of response. The body’s immune systems are generally blind to the virus and unable to launch an effective antibody attack.There is also the lack of good animal models to study. KAVI, an affiliate of the University of Nairobi, has been conducting vaccine research since 2001. Globally, the efforts are more than 30 years old.

WACI health executive director Rosemary Mburu praised HIV research efforts in Kenya and called for more government funding.“Finding a vaccine is costly and involves a lot of research. But it is essential and possible. That is why we need to invest in it,” she said.

UNAIDS says a vaccine would be the most effective way to control the virus.“The biggest impacts in the eradication or control of infectious diseases in the history of public health have been achieved through vaccination,” Michel Sidibé, Unaids executive director, said. “This is why a vaccine is worth continuing to invest in.”

 

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