February 12, 2020

HIV vaccines trials discontinued

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Anashe Murombedzi

A local researcher with the university of Zimbabwe says an HIV Vaccines Trial Network that was being conducted in South Africa has been discontinued after being found not to prevent HIV transmission.

The researcher, Dr Portia Hunidzarira, was addressing the media and health writers in Zimbabwe’s capital, Harare on Monday.

She said although the trials were called off, participants will remain in the study.

“Vaccines take long to be rolled out as being safe for human use. Despite the HVTN702 vaccine, also known as “Uhambo”, the journey, being stopped, a lot has been learnt from the trial.”

Dr Hunidzarira said the trial was not a failure, but the results showed that the vaccine is ineffective in HIV prevention.

“The study has not been a failure, the trial was a success as clinicians got an answer that HVTN702 does not prevent HIV transmission.”

The HVTN702 clinical trial was stopped in early February. It enrolled 5407 HIV negative volunteers at 14 sites in South Africa. The study population consisted of sexually active men and women aged 18- 35 years over 18 months.

They were assigned to receive either the vaccine regimen or placebo injections. Participants received six injections.

A similar trial is being conducted in Thailand.

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