Published on 1 December 2013
World AIDS Day 2013: EDCTP prepares for its second programme to support the fight against HIV/AIDS
Important progress in the fight against HIV/AIDS has been achieved but HIV still affects millions of lives. Sub-Saharan Africa continues to be the continent most affected by the disease. Since its start in 2003, the European & Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP) has funded clinical research across a broad spectrum of interventions and has paid special attention to vulnerable and high risk groups. Currently, the African-European partnership prepares for its second programme. African partner countries and organisations will participate directly in the programme and its governance to pursue the common goal of Getting to Zero.
EDCTP is developing its strategy and funding priorities for its second programme (2014-2023), which is expected to start in 2014 as part of the European Union research and innovation programme Horizon 2020. A stakeholder meeting on HIV/AIDS was held in Lisbon, Portugal on 3-4 September 2013. The aim of the meeting was to collect expert advice towards shaping its strategy and priorities in funding HIV research. The topics discussed in the meeting included, among others: large scale phase III and IV trials; adult and paediatric treatment; the impact of interventions on co-morbidities/ coinfections and antiretroviral resistance; HIV prevention research; and most-at-risk populations. The meeting was attended by academic researchers, policy makers and representatives of funding agencies, product development partnerships, pharmaceutical industry, and other like-minded organisations.
The second EDCTP programme will build on the results of the first programme. Since 2003, EDCTP has invested € 68.36 million in order to fund 55 HIV/AIDS research projects in 24 sub-Saharan African countries. This includes substantial capacity upgrades at research centres used for clinical trials and training of African researchers.
EDCTP funding under the first programme
Prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV/AIDS received € 5.7 million of funding. Among the four projects was the Kesho Bora study which strongly influenced the revision of WHO guidelines on prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV and infant feeding.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and EDCTP launched a joint call in 2006 which resulted in six projects with a total grant value of € 17.2 million. The studies prepared for clinical trials of candidate HIV vaccines in sub-Saharan Africa. The TaMoVac study funded under this call has demonstrated that the prime/boost HIV-1 DNA multigene/multiclade-MVA/CMDR vaccine is safe and highly immunogenic when administered intradermally. The SASHA project studied the feasibility of adolescent HIV vaccine trials in South Africa and concurrently built the capacity to for such trials. The CHIVTUM project studied the feasibility of HIV vaccine clinical trials in fishing communities in Uganda and in Malawi.
Other prevention projects were three studies that prepared for clinical trials of microbicides with a total grant value of € 10.3 million. The EDCTP HIV/AIDS portfolio includes further clinical trials investigating the safety of combined antiretroviral and anti-tuberculosis treatment in individuals with HIV-TB co-infection and 23 Senior Fellowship and Career Development grants related to HIV/AIDS research.