Dr Eugene Ruzagira, a member of the team of researchers told a news conference organized by the Health Journalists Network that they are giving all the participants in their PrEPVACC trial a daily Descovy tablet to assess whether it’s effective in preventing participants from getting infected.
are studying the effectiveness of a daily Pre- Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) drug
Descovy in their HIV vaccine study that was launched recently in Masaka
Dr Eugene Ruzagira, a member of the team of researchers told a news conference
organized by the Health Journalists Network that they are giving all the
participants in their PrEPVACC trial a daily Descovy tablet to assess whether
it’s effective in preventing participants from getting infected.
Ruzagira who is based at the Uganda Virus Research Institute says they want to
establish whether Descovy works as well as Truvada in preventing HIV infection.
Before it was approved for general use, Truvada’s effectiveness was established
in studies done in Uganda.
He says the new drug has only been tested among men who have sex with men in
the United States and there’s no data yet supporting its effectiveness in women
and heterosexual populations.
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Together with Descovy, up to 1,700 participants enrolled at various sites
including Mbeya and Dar es- Salaam in Tanzania and Durban in South Africa will
be given DNA and protein-based vaccines in two arms which will be compared
against a placebo in the third arm.
Volunteers will be injected four times on the first day, four weeks later, six
months and after a year.
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In Uganda, the researchers expect to enrol 400 participants and have so far had
157 injected and started on PrEP. Elsewhere, the Dar es – Salaam site enrolled
their first participant today whereas the Mbeya site has had 30 volunteers sign
up. The other two sites have not yet registered any participants.
Ruzagira says that enrolling participants will end last year but the study
continues until 2024.
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Nakkasi an HIV Prevention advocate from the Civil Society Organization- UNASO
welcomed the study and urged the Ministry of Health to embrace the many options
for HIV prevention being adopted elsewhere.
despite the years of research, prevalence has remained high especially among
women at over 6%. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, she says incidence might
increase undoing the gains made before.