Uganda, Kenya, and Tanzania Secure Funds for HIV Vaccine Development

Uganda, Kenya, and Tanzania, along with five other countries, have received $45 million in funding from the United States Agency for International Aid (USAid) for the research and development of an HIV/AIDS vaccine. This funding is a response to funding gaps in drug and vaccine development, which have led African countries to rely on donor supplies for medicines.

The eight recipient countries, which also include Zambia, Nigeria, South Africa, Zimbabwe, and Mozambique, aim to develop a vaccine with an efficacy rate of 60% to 80%, according to Dr. Cissy Kityo, the executive director of Uganda’s Joint Clinical Research Centre (JCRC). The project will span the next five years, with the participating nations collaborating on knowledge and technology to advance vaccine development.

The goal of UNAids is to end HIV by 2030, but progress varies among different regions, with significant strides made in countries like South Africa, where HIV infections decreased by 57% in 2010.

African countries face challenges in vaccine production due to restrictions by major pharmaceutical companies on patent rights, intellectual property, and drug prices. These restrictions contrast with the situation in Africa, where local manufacturers do not have the same technological barriers.

Jane Nalunga, the Executive Director of the Southern and Eastern Africa Trade Information (Seatini), suggests reviewing intellectual property agreements in Free Trade Agreements (FTA), like the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), Kenya-UK agreements, FTA, and Ghana-UK FTA, to allow more flexibility in patent protection and encourage local production of generic vaccines in Africa. She points out that locally produced vaccines, such as the Covidex vaccine, were not WHO-approved, leading to reliance on delayed imported vaccines despite the capacity to produce and distribute vaccines locally.

Dr. Monica Musenero, Uganda’s Science and Technology Minister, emphasizes that African countries are expected to meet international healthcare standards, despite disparities in resources and capacity when compared to developed nations.

The Black Examiner’s news department was not involved in the creation of the content above. This story was produced by The East African. For more information go to theeastafrican.co.ke .© The East Africam

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