Uganda institute to host African AIDS vaccine programme

Kampala- Uganda (PANA) -- The Uganda Virus Research Institute (UVRI), based in En tebbe, Uganda, was recommended to host the Secretariat of the African AIDS Vaccine Programme (AAVP), after a ve ry close competition involving a total of eight applicant institutions located in seven countries in Africa.
A World Health Organization (WHO) statement received by PANA here Tuesday said t he choice was announced at the 5th AAVP Forum, held in Kampala 13-15 December 2009.
"As two thirds of the global AIDS epidemic is situated on our continent, we welc ome the transition of the African AIDS Vaccine Programme to Africa.
Uganda is honoured to have been chosen to host this Program me.
With so many lives at stake, we take our responsibility seriously and pledge to work tirelessly towards the day when a sa fe, effective HIV vaccine will be available to protect Africans from this devastating illness," the statement quoted Dr Stephen Malling a, Minister of Health, Uganda, as saying.
About 300 HIV vaccine stakeholders, including leading African and international scientists, research agencies, donors, and government and regional organization officials are participating in the Fifth Forum.
"Many of the applicants submitted convincing bids and the decision was not easy.
But it was felt, after detailed review, that Uganda was able to offer slightly more on the selection criteria," said Dr Alash'le Abimiku , Co-Chair of the AAVP Steering Committee and Chair of the AAVP Transition Panel.
The choice of UVRI came after an open and transparent process in which all appli cant institutions were objectively judged on their merits by an External AAVP Transition Panel representing the key stakeholders.
Selection criteria included financing, administration and research capacity at t he level of the research institution; political support, legal, ethical and regulatory frameworks at the level of the host country; and the capacity for net working, communications and transportation at the level of the region.
The AAVP Secretariat has been based since 2000 in Geneva, Switzerland.
A transit ion of AAVP to a fully functional African programme began more than a year ago and should be complete by the first quarter of 2010.
"We look forward to the African AIDS Vaccine Programme conducting critical resea rch from its new base in Uganda, and wish it every success as an independent African programme," Dr Marie-Paule Kieny, Director, WHO Initia tive for Vaccine Research, was quoted as saying.
Africa is disproportionately affected by the HIV/AIDS pandemic.
Though it has ju st over 12% of the world's population, the continent is estimated to have more than 60% of the AIDS-infected population.

15 december 2009 07:46:00




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