Major AIDS vaccine update

The audio is in isiZulu. See English summary below.

MABUTHO: Ukuhlolwa kwekhambi lokugomela igciwane le HIV, iHVTN 503, edume kakhulu ngokuthi iPhambili, kuthathwa njengokukhulu kunakho konke osekuke kwenziwa ezwenikazi laseAfrica. Bangu 3000 sebebonke abantu okulindeleke ukuba babe ingxenye yalolucwaningo lwalelikhambi ocwaningeni oluzodonsa iminyaka emine. Ukuhlolwa kwalelikhambi kusesigabeni esibizwa ngo Phase 11b. Lokhu kusho ukuthi lisahlolelwa ukuphepha kwalo kanye nokuthi kukhona yini elikwenzayo ukusiza umzimba ulwisane negciwane. Uma liphasa lizobe selidlulela esigabeni esilandelayo esaziwa ngo Phase 111 lapho kuzobe sekubhekwa ngqo ukusebenza kwalo ukugomela igciwane le HIV. UDr Glenda Gray we University of Witwatersrand Perinatal HIV Research Unit (PHRU) nokunguyena oyinhloko ekucwaningweni kwalelikhambi uthi; bangu 670 abantu asebeyingxenye yalokhu kuhlolwa kwalelikhambi. Uthi okujabulisayo ukuthi iningi labantu abasabatholile, abayingxenye yokucwaningwa kwalelikhambi, ngabantu abasha nathi kuyinto enhle ngoba igciwane le HIV limandla kubona.

DR GLENDA GRAY: Six hundred and seventy people have been enrolled into this vaccine trial. What is also very important for us is that almost a third of all the participants are between the ages of 18 and 20, which is very good because, obviously, we know that HIV affects young people in this country.

MABUTHO: Ikusasa lokuhlolwa kwalelikhambi lincike embikweni wesikhashana ozokhishwa emavikini embalwa ukusuka manje. UDr Gray uthi uma lombiko ubonisa ukuthi linobungozi bazokumisa ukuhlolwa kwalelikhambi kuleli. Uthi kodwa uma bethola ukuthi ukusebenza kwalo kuyethembisa bazoqhubeka kuze kube bathole abantu abangu 3000.

DR GLENDA GRAY: We mentioned when we started this study that we will be looking at early immunogenecity when we reach 600 participants. We have now reached 670. So, in eight weeks’€™ time these early spots will be analyzed. If we see a good response to this vaccine, the study will be opened up to rollout up to 3000. And obviously, if we see a bad response we do not continue with the study.

MABUTHO: Lelikhambi elihlolwayo lifakwe iAdenovirus 5 (Ad 5) okuyigciwane eselithenwe amandla. Lokhu kusho ukuthi abantu angeke basulelwe igciwane le Adenovirus 5 elibangela isifo somkhuhlane. Okubaluleke kakhulu ukuthi abantu bazi ukuthi ngeke batheleleke ngegciwane le HIV ngokungenela lolucwaningo. UDr Glenda Gray uthi bafuna ukuthola abantu abaningana abanaloluhlobo lwegciwane ukuze bezobona ukusebenza kwalelikhambi kubona. Uthi okuhle kakhulu ukuthi izibalo abanazo njengamanje zikhomba ukuthi u40% wabantu abayingxenye yalolucwaningo banalo leligciwane iAdenovirus 5.

DR GLENDA GREY: Because we have pre-existing immunity to Adenovirus 5   in South Africa, we hope to make sure that we get a good distribution of people with Adenovirus 5 to see how pre-existing immunity to Adenovirus 5 affects vaccine response. Currently, in the first review of the results, 40% of the participants have Adenovirus 5 less than 200 and the rest have Adenovirus greater than 200.

MABUTHO: INingizimu Africa ibalelwa kwambala amazwe asathuthuka ahlola amakhambi okugomela igciwane le HIV. Ngaphandle kwalelikhambi iHVTN 503 okanye iPhambili njengoba libizwa kanjalo akhona namanye ahlolwayo emazingeni ahlukene kulona lonke leli. UProf Lynn Morris oyinhloko yophiko olubhekele igciwane le HIV kwi National Institute of Commmunicable Diseases kuleli uthi nakuba izwe laseNingizimu Africa lingeqhathaniswe namazwe asethuthukile kodwa lidlala indima ebaluleke kakhulu emizamweni yokuthola ikhambi lokugomela igciwane le HIV.

PROF LYNN MORRIS: In terms of conducting clinical trials, we are at the cutting edge. Obviously, it is a small research community here in South Africa compared to the US and Europe, but we making a very good contribution in terms of vaccine development and basic science.

MABUTHO: Ngokuka Prof Gavin Churchyard we Aurum Institute for Health Research nakuba zikhona izinkomba zokuthi indlela iyakhanya kodwa uthi kusazothatha eminye iminyaka eminingi ngaphambi kokuba kutholakale ikhambi elingcono ukugomela igciwane le HIV.

English summary

Major AIDS vaccine update

Over 600 participants have been enrolled into the HVTN 503 vaccine trial, said to be the ‘€œlargest AIDS vaccine trial’€ to be ever conducted on the continent.

The clinical trial, which is expected to take four years, seeks to enroll a total of 3000 people from different parts of the country. The main aim of the trial is to determine whether the candidate vaccine can prevent HIV infection or, in those who do become infected, lower the viral load.

According to Dr Glenda Gray from the University of the Witwatersrand’€™s Perinatal HIV Research Unit (PHRU), who is the national principal investigator in the vaccine trial, many young people have shown interest in the research.

‘€œSix hundred and seventy people have been enrolled into this vaccine trial. What is also very important for us is that almost a third of all the participants are between the ages of 18 and 20, which is very good because, obviously, we know that HIV affects young people in this country,’€ she said.

Dr Gray says preliminary results, to be released in less than eight weeks’€™ time, will determine whether the vaccine trial will be continued or not.

‘€œWe mentioned when we started this study that we will be looking at early immunogenecity when we reach 600 participants. We have now reached 670. So, in eight weeks’€™ time these early spots will be analyzed. If we see a good response to this vaccine, the study will be opened up to rollout up to 3000. And obviously, if we see a bad response we do not continue with the study,’€ she said.

The HVTN 503 vaccine is based on a virus called the Adenovirus 5 (Ad5). This is a common cold virus, but for the purposes of the trial, it has been modified so that it cannot cause infection in humans. The vaccine has been made in the laboratory, and does not contain live HIV. Therefore, it cannot cause HIV infection. Dr Gray explains the ideal type of participants they’€™d like in the trial.

‘€œWe hope to make sure that we get a good distribution of people with Adenovirus 5 to see how pre-existing immunity to Adenovirus 5 affects vaccine response. Currently, in the first review of the results, 40% of the participants have Adenovirus 5 less than 200 and the rest have Adenovirus greater than 200,’€ she said.

This clinical trial, which is now at Phase IIb ‘€“ designed to study efficacy and safety of the candidate vaccine ‘€“ if successful, will enable researchers to determine whether the study vaccine  prevents HIV infection or lowers the viral load in those who are infected.

South Africa is among the few developing countries that conduct AIDS vaccine clinical trials.  Prof. Lynn Morris, head of the National Institute of Communicable Diseases, says although South Africa cannot be compared to developed countries in terms of research standards, it is playing an important role in the quest to find an AIDS vaccine.

‘€œIn terms of conducting clinical trials, we are at the cutting edge. Obviously, it is a small research community here in South Africa compared to the US and Europe, but we’€™re making a very good contribution in terms of vaccine development and basic science’€ said Prof. Morris.

According to Prof. Gavin Churchyard of the Aurum Institute for Health Research, it is still going to take several years to find an effective AIDS vaccine.

.

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