Namibia could benefit from HIV vaccine being tested: WHO

29 Nov 2016 11:00am
WINDHOEK, 29 NOV (NAMPA) – Namibia could over the next four years benefit from an HIV vaccine to be tested in neighbouring South Africa, but only if the vaccine efficacy meets international standards.
The trial will be launched in South Africa on Wednesday.
In an interview with Nampa on Monday, World Health Organisation (WHO) Country Representative Monirul Islam said the HIV vaccine is expected to benefit everyone after a three to four year trial and registration.
“The vaccine for HIV goes through a lot of results and we have a new candidate vaccine that was tested in Thailand, and it shows that it can prevent the transmission with 30 per cent.”
Islam said scientists originally had to change few molecules regarding the vaccine’s efficacy and thus created the new one that was trialed in Thailand and is to be tested in SA.
He is optimistic that initial findings of the tests in the African country are to show promising results to prevent HIV infection on the continent.
“Hopefully, if all goes well after three to four years we will have it in Namibia,” he said.
It is estimated that about 17 000 youths between 10 and 19 years are living with HIV in Namibia.
News 24 on Sunday reported that the vaccine efficacy study, called HVTN 702, aims to enrol 5 400 sexually-active men and women aged between 18 and 35 at 15 sites across the country.
It will be the largest and most advanced HIV vaccine clinical trial to take place in South Africa, where more than 1 000 people a day are infected with HIV.
The vaccine is designed to combat a particular strain of HIV that is prevalent in southern Africa.
An HIV-negative woman will be the first to receive a dosage at a Soweto site on Thursday.