Supported research in HIV/AIDS: achievements
Research on treatment of HIV/AIDS included the CHAPAS-1 trial in Zambia that contributed to the development of a paediatric antiretroviral formulation in fixed-dose combination which subsequently was introduced in several African countries.
The results of the EDCTP-funded CHAPAS-3 trial provided strong evidence to support the WHO guidelines for first-line paediatric antiretroviral treatment (ART). CHAPAS-3 was the first randomised controlled trial in African children to compare three ‘backbones’ for ART regimens. All regimens were shown to have low toxicity and good clinical, immunological, and virological responses. The trial allays concerns of reduced efficacy raised by observational studies. The results, published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases on 6 October 2015, support clinicians and policy makers in implementing the current WHO guidelines for ART in children.
Among the studies on the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV/AIDS is the co-funded Kesho Bora study, which strongly influenced the revision of WHO guidelines on prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV and infant feeding.
More recently, a randomised controlled clinical trial, conducted in Burkina Faso, South Africa, Uganda and Zambia, showed that two liquid formulas of HIV drugs are safe and highly effective at protecting infants from infection while they are breastfed by their HIV-positive mothers, including in the 6-12 month period after birth which has not been studied in previous research. The results of the PROMISE-PEP/ANRS12174 study were published in The Lancet on 18 November 2015.
Under its first programme, EDCTP launched in 2006 a joint call with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation which resulted in six projects. The studies prepared for clinical trials of candidate HIV vaccines in sub-Saharan Africa. Among these is the SASHA project which studied the feasibility of adolescent HIV vaccine trials in South Africa and concurrently built the capacity for such trials. The project developed an ethical-legal guide for conducting clinical trials with adolescents.