The Director of the study from the Muhimbili University College of Health and Allied Sciences, Dr Muhammed Bakari, said here yesterday that the second phase follows positive results recorded in the first phase trials that involved 60 volunteers.
Dr Bakari said the research will be conducted in collaboration with the Mbeya Medical Research Programme and researchers from Mozambique. The research is code-named Tanzania Mozambique Vaccine Programme (TAMOVAC).
We are currently waiting for the green light from the relevant bodies before we could embark on the study, said Dr Bakari during a briefing to the media, after local scientists presented findings from the first phase study during the conference of the European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP) taking place here.
He said they needed to get blessings from the National Ethics Committee, as well as the National Institute of Medical Research among others, to continue with the second phase research to be sponsored by the EDCTP.
Dr Bakari, however, observed that despite positive results so far, it was still a long way to go before the vaccination for HIV/AIDS was found, saying success recorded in the first phase of the trials was on efficacy and immunoginicity of the HIVIS-03 vaccine.
But it is still premature to announce at this stage that we have found the HIV/AIDS vaccine, unless we conduct more trials and tests to further ascertain whatever findings we may have made, he said, noting that the second phase of the trials may take between two and three years.
He said Thailand had recently announced a major breakthrough in HIV/AIDS vaccine after studying 16,000 volunteers, hinting that a bigger batch of local volunteers may have to be studied in future trials, as the race to find the vaccine in the country gains momentum. He said funding remained a major stumbling block, but expressed hopes that the problem could be overcome with adequate political will and sources like the EDCTP.
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