HIV Vaccine development falls under prevention. For effective prevention and control of any infection, availability of safe, efficacious, affordable and universally accessible vaccine is essential. That is the same with HIV.
The development of HIV vaccine dates back late eighties in developed countries, such as the United States where the vaccine trial stated in 1987. The Vaccine developed and tried was HIV-1 vaccine which was potentially the most cost effective strategy for prevention and control of HIV-1 infection in the world and in Tanzania.
Since then more than 30 different types of vaccine have been tested in more than 100 phase I/II trials, involving many HIV negative human volunteers. Vaccine development is done in phases. There are phase one to three phases and countries are in different phases.
In Tanzania there are three project sites for preparation of vaccine clinical trials namely; Muhimbili, Mbeya and Kilimanjaro Christian Medical centre. The preparation work in Tanzania included working with a police cohort in Dar es Salaam and a community population cohort in Mbeya as well as capacity building since 1994. The European Union HIV supported the Vaccine Immunogenicity (Phase I/II) study) in Tanzania (HIVIS) beginning of 2004.
The project is done in collaboration with a number of partners with multiple technical and financial supporters such as:
- Karoliska Institute, Sweden
- Sodersjukhuset, Stockholm, Sweden
- Ludwig-Maximillian University, Munchen, Germany
- University of Cape Town, South Africa
- Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, Bethesda, USA
The WHO and UNAIDS sponsored African AIDS Vaccine Programme establishment in 2002 in Nairobi and launched in Cape Town South Africa in June 2002. Tanzania is among more than 14 countries in the programme.
The HIV vaccine will work with other preventive interventions. Is not a replacement!
The Tanzanian society should continue advocacy on comprehensive prevention packages.