AFRICA may not be able to develop a vaccine for Human Immuno-deficiency Virus (HIV)/Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) in the next 20 years following poor funding for research from governments and complex scientific protocols required.
Researchers championing the work in Nairobi, Kenya, who are to ensure that a good vaccine that works eventually emerges said this development is one of the greatest challenges facing the various researches into HIV vaccine on the continent.
Also, the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative in collaboration with Uganda, Rwanda, Zambia, Tanzania, South Africa and Gambia plans to set up an AIDS vaccine development centre in Jos, Plateau State.
Conducting journalists round the laboratories involved in the find for HIV vaccine in Kenya, Programme Director of the Kenya AIDS Vaccine Initiative (KAVI), Prof. Omu Anzala, stressed that the various vaccine related researches in Africa were financed by international donor agencies and development organisations, while African governments contribute little or nothing to the search for a vaccine.
Anzala explained: “Because of the complex scientific protocols required, the search for a vaccine for HIV/AIDS may still be long in coming. Thus, the World Health Organisation (WHO) rates HIV one of the world’s leading infectious killers, claiming more than 25 million lives over the last 30 years. WHO statistics also indicate that 60 per cent of people living with HIV are in sub-Saharan Africa.
“But the work to find a vaccine for the ailment faces a major challenge as the African Union (AU) and governments in Africa are not counted among those committing serious resources to the global research for a vaccine.”
Meanwhile, the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative is expanding to Nigeria.
Anzala, who made this known to the visiting journalists, disclosed that the centre would be sited in Jos.
He said: “We are collaborating with Uganda, Rwanda, Zambia, Tanzania, South Africa and we are also collaborating with Gambia. We are now trying to initiate collaboration with Nigeria.”