Africa-based trials get funding16th June 2008
A transnational consortium linking developed European countries to nations in sub-Saharan Africa says it will invest around US$124 million in African medical research.
The European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP) said half of the money had already been approved and would go towards malaria research and the development of tuberculosis (TB) vaccines.
A second tranche of funding is expected to be approved later this year, and will be earmarked for research into HIV/AIDS and TB treatment, and for the provision of vaccines and microbicides.
The aim of the EDCTP is to provide resources for joint clinical trials, capacity building and networking activities between sub-Saharan African countries and 14 EU member states, together with Switzerland and Norway.
The money will be the largest sum approved by the EDCTP since it was established in 2003, with a particular interest in supporting projects that create and develop capacity for ethical review of clinical trials and to improve regulatory frameworks for drug approval.
EDCTP executive director Charles Mgone said that quite often when there is North–South collaboration, the ideas come from the North, the money comes from the North, even the principal investigators come from the North.
He said the aim of the EDCTP funding was to empower Africans, enabling them to take ownership over the projects and do the work.
Of the 27 projects approved so far, around 24 of them have African principal investigators working in Africa.
Mgone said the "lion's share" of the funding was being given over to clinical trials.
Victor Mwapasa from the Malawi College of Medicine and colleagues are looking at whether antimalarial drugs, specifically artemisinin-based combinations, are safe to use in two particular groups - those who are HIV positive and children aged under six months.
Their study has received EDCTP funding into order to probe the safety of antimalarials in very young children weighing less than five kilograms, or under six months old.
Mwapasa is working as part of a large collaboration with African and European researchers, carrying out research in Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia, a rare collaboration in spite of the fact that the countries share many of the same problems.
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Title: Africa-based trials get funding
Author: Luisetta Mudie
Article Id: 7153
Date Added: 16th Jun 2008