Low morale after “major vaccine trial” is stopped

The audio is in isiZulu. See the English summary below.

MABUTHO: Ngesikhathi ithulwa ngokusemthethweni ngasekuqaleni kwalonyaka iHVTN 503, edume ngele Phambili, yachazwa njengekhambi elithembisayo ukuthi lingakwazi ukuvimbela igciwane le HIV. Bekulindeleke ukuba babe ngu 3000 sebebonke abantu abazohlolelwa ukusebenza kwalelikhambi ezindaweni ezahlukene kuleli. Kodwa izindaba zokuthi lelikhambi lehlulekile ukusebenza ngendlela kubantu ebelihlolwa kubona e Australia kanye naseMelika kuholele ekuthenini kumiswe ukuhlolwa kwalo kuleli. Kulezinyanga ezimbalwa liqalile ukuhlolwa kuleli bangu 700 abantu ebese lihlolwe kubona. Limiswa nje bekusalindelwe ukuba kukhishwe imiphumela yesikhashana yokuhlolwa kwalo kuleli. ULucky Mkhondwane uyi Treatment Literacy Trainer kwinhlangano  iTreatment Action Campaign, okungenye yezinhlangano ezilwela ukutholakala kwamakhambi okuvikela nokuthiba igciwane le HIV kuleli. UMkhondwane uthi ukumiswa kwalelikhambi kuye kwaholela ekulahlekeni kwethemba kubantu abaningi.

LUCKY MKHONDWANE: Abantu abaningi balahlekelwe ithemba ngoba ivaccine lena iyona ebese inikeza ithemba ukuthi abantu bangakhona ukuthi bagomele ukuthi bathole (bangalitholi) leligciwane lesandulelangculaza. So, ukumiswa kwale trial ebeyenziwa kusibuyisela emuva kakhulu.

MABUTHO: UMkhondwane uthi okunye okube nomthelela ongemuhle ukuthi abezindaba babike ngendlela enganikezi ithemba ngokumiswa kokuhlolwa kwalelikhambi.

LUCKY MKHONDWANE: Iqhaza imedia elidlalile ayikuvezanga kahle ukumiswa kwayo le trial. Ivele yaba into enomthelela omubi kakhulu, kangangokuthi nje abantu abaningi uma ubabuza ukuthi uma kungaba nenye itrial bangavuma yini ukungena kuyo abaningi bathi cha angeke baze baphumelele bona ukuthi bangene.

MABUTHO: Ukumiswa kokuhlolwa kwalelikhambi akuphathanga kabi abacwaningi balo nje kuphela, kepha bonke abahlola amakhambi okuvikela igciwane le HIV baye baphatheka kabi ngokumiswa kwalo. UMalebo Ratlhagana ungumcwaningi eSetshaba Research Center, ePretoria. ISetshaba Research Center ingesinye sezikhungo ezintathu ezisetshenziselwa ukuhlola elinye lamakhambi okuvikela igciwane leHIV, iCarraguard Microbicide. Ukuhlolwa kwalelikhambi nalo lamiswa. URatlhagana uthi kubaphatha kabi ukumiswa kokuhlolwa kwanomayiliphi ikhambi lokuvikela igciwane le HIV.

MALEBO RATLHAGANA: It is disappointing for other researchers to stop because we are hoping to have a holistic approach to HIV, not only microbicides. It will be nice to see a toolbox of HIV prevention methods – not only one thing.

MABUTHO: UDR Glenda Gray we Perinatal HIV Research Unit, esebenzisana nenyuvesi iWits, uyinhloko yokuhlolwa kwalelikhambi iHVTN 503. UDr Gray uthi ukumiswa kokuhlolwa kwalelikhambi eMzansi Afrika kubashiya nemibuzo eminingi, njengokuthi bekungenzeka imiphumela yokusebenza kwayo ingafani phakathi kwabesilisa nabesifazane.

DR GLENDA GRAY: What we have in this situation is the study that is paused and we can’€™t justify continuing it because it did not show promise. But what we have not answered is what effect it has on’€¦gender. We know that in certain vaccines women respond better than men to vaccination. So, it is very sad that we could not continue with the study.

MABUTHO: UProf. Helen Rees ongumqondisi omkhulu kwi Reproductive Health and HIV Research Unit uthi ukumiswa kokuhlolwa kwe HVTN 503 vaccine kakusho ukuthi kumele kungabe kusaqhubeka kuhlolwe amanye amakhambi okuvikela igciwane le HIV kuleli. Uthi kodwa kuzomele uma kukhulunywa ngemizamo yokuthola ikhambi lokuvikela igciwane le HIV kungagcinwa nje kukhulunywa ngamakhambi afana namavaccines kuphela. UProf. Rees uthi kumele kubhekwe neminye imizamo yokungenziwa ukuvikela igciwane. Phakathi kokungenziwa uthi ukuthi kekubhekwe ukuthi ingabe ukugqugquzela abantu ukuba bayozihlolela igciwane kunawo yini umthelela ekuvikeleni igciwane.

PRO.HELEN REES: I think it goes without saying that we need HIV prevention trials. …When we talk about HIV prevention, we need to move away from this idea that the only thing that we should be talking about are these brand new off-the-shelf products. Let us think about the entire field. We can look at interventions such as using Voluntary Counseling and Testing, and see the impact that has on HIV prevention.

MABUTHO: Ukumiswa kwalelikhambi iHVTN 503 kusishiya namakhambi amabili kuleli, okusahlolwa ukuthi ingabe angakwazi yini ukuvikela  igciwane le HIV nangaphansi kwehlangano iSouth African AIDS Vaccine Initiative. Lamakhambi amabili ahlolwayo elokuqala lawo iHVTN 204. Kanti elesibili iTherapeutic GTU-Multi HIV B clade vaccine, yona ethanda ukwehluka ngoba ihlolelwa ukuthi ingakwazi yini ukuthi ivimbele igciwane le HIV ekuthenini lenze lowo ophila nalo angadluleli esigabeni sokuba ne AIDS.

The English summary.

Low morale after “major vaccine trial” is stopped

The halting of the HVTN 503 vaccine trial, dubbed ‘€˜Phambili’€™, has left some doubtful that an effective vaccine to prevent HIV infection will ever be found.

The vaccine trial was stopped with immediate effect after its sister trials in the US and Australia found no protection against HIV infection.

Seven hundred people had enrolled in the trial when it was discontinued last month. During its launch earlier this year, amid much euphoria and optimism, it was said to be the largest vaccine trial to be ever conducted on the African continent. At least, 3 000 participants were to be recruited from all over the country over a period of four years.

Lucky Mkhondwane, a Treatment Literacy Trainer from the Treatment Action Campaign, says the halting of the trial is a setback in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

‘€œPeople have lost hope because they thought the vaccine was going to work. So, the halting of the vaccine trial is taking us backward’€.

Mkhondwane added that the media need to take  the blame for sensational reporting about the vaccine’€™s  failure. ‘€œThe media sensationalized the whole thing. As a result, many people now say they will never participate in the future vaccine trials,’€ Mkhondwane said.

 

Other researchers with no links to the HVTN 503 vaccine trial were also disappointed. Malebo Rathlagana is a Researcher at Setshaba Research Centre in Pretoria. This was one of three centers in the country that tested the Carraguard Microbicide ‘€“  whose trial was also stopped. Ratlhagana says the fact that the vaccine trial was stopped is a major blow in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

 

‘€œIt is disappointing for other researchers to stop because we are hoping to have a holistic approach to HIV, not only microbicides. It will be nice to see a toolbox of HIV prevention methods – not only one thing,’€ she said.

 

Dr Glenda Gray from the University of the Witwatersrand’€™s Perinatal HIV Research Unit (PHRU), was the national Principal Investigator in the vaccine trial. She says although it was necessary to stop the trial, the research effort has left them with unanswered questions.

 

‘€œWhat we have in this situation is a study that is paused, and we can’€™t justify continuing it because it did not show promise. But what we have not answered is what effect it has on’€¦gender. We know that in certain vaccines women respond better than men to vaccination. So, it is very sad that we could not continue with the study,’€ she said.

 

According to Prof. Helen Rees, the Executive Director of the Reproductive Health and HIV Research Unit, the termination of the HVTN 503 vaccine does not mean the end of attempts to get possible solutions to prevent HIV.

 

‘€œI think it goes without saying that we need HIV prevention trials. …When we talk about HIV prevention, we need to move away from this idea that the only thing that we should be talking about are these brand new off-the-shelf products. Let us think about the entire field. We can look at interventions such as using Voluntary Counseling and Testing, and see the impact that that has on HIV prevention,’€ Prof. Rees said.

 

The halting of the HVTN 503 leaves South Africa with two HIV vaccine trials that are still currently underway. These are HVTN 204 and the Therapeutic GTU-Multi HIV B clade vaccine. Unlike other vaccines, the Therapeutic GTU-Multi HIV B clade vaccine is designed to slow progression to full-blown AIDS.

 

 

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