By Victoria Ojeme
ABUJA- Plans have reached advanced stage to set up an African HIV Vaccine Research and Development Trust Fund, as part of initiatives to tackle the scourge of the disease in the continent.
The Fund, under the auspices of African AIDS Vaccine Partnership, AAVP, with secretariat in Uganda, will be managed by the African Development Bank, in collaboration with selected international institutions.
Speaking on the development in Abuja, Executive Director, AAVP, Dr Chidi Nweneka, said the Fund would result in increased funding for HIV vaccine research and development that would further lead to a significant reduction of new infections by 17 million in 15 years.
He said: “AAVP plans to set up an African HIV Vaccine research and development trust fund. This fund, which will be set up with the help of African governments, business communities and other donors will be used to promote HIV vaccine R and D in Africa led by Africans in collaboration with groups from other parts of the world.”
Some of the programmes to be supported by the Fund, according to Nweneka, include, “Young African Scientists Mentorship Programme, the capacity strengthening programme for middle and senior level scientists in Africa .
He explained further that the activities of AAVP would drastically reduce the rate of new infections, saying “modelling studies have estimated that an HIV vaccine that is 50% efficacious and given to 30% of those who need it could avert more than 17 million new infections over 15 years and save billions of dollars in cost of providing treatment to people living with HIV/AIDS.”
AAVP was established in 2000 by the World Health Organization(WHO) and United Nations AIDS(UNAIDS) in partnership with African scientists and other major HIV vaccine research and development partners across the world.
Since its establishment, AAVP has among others, built up extensive network of partners, funders and key stakeholders for HIV vaccine Research and Development in Africa , contributed to addressing key ethical issues in HIV vaccine Research and Development , especially HIV vaccine clinical trials, as well as spearheading the creation of National HIV vaccine plans in many African countries.