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EDCTP approves € 80 M of funding to boost HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria research

The European & Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP) has approved over € 80 million for research into prevention of HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria in Africa. This sum is the highest amount of EDCTP funding approved to date. The approval marks an increase of European investment in research into the three poverty-related diseases and is expected to significantly enhance cooperation between European and African researchers.

EDCTP is a partnership of 14 European Member States plus Norway, Switzerland and sub-Saharan countries. The Partnership aims to reduce the global burden of HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria by pooling resources for conducting clinical trials in sub-Saharan Africa. The current approval of funding consists of a contribution from the European Commission of € 40 M, to be matched by European Member States and third parties. The projects involve 12 European countries and 22 sub-Saharan African countries. Funding was approved in the following areas:

Tuberculosis Vaccines
Malaria Treatment
Malaria in Pregnancy
Malaria Vaccines
Ethics review capacity
WHO regulatory affairs
Networks of Excellence
Senior Fellowships
Additional funding in the areas of HIV treatment, vaccines and microbicides, TB treatment and Networks of Excellence is expected to be approved in the second half of 2008.

The projects on TB and malaria that will be funded combine clinical trials with capacity building and networking activities. By integrating these activities EDCTP aims to enhance sustainability of conducting clinical trials on the African continent. A number of projects focuses on creating and developing capacity for ethics review of clinical trials and of enhancing the regulatory framework needed for approval of medicines in Africa. This enables African countries to conduct high-quality and ethically sound clinical trials, and to assess the safety and efficacy of all medicines that enter the African market.

EU Member State commitment and African leadership very encouraging
European Science and Research Commissioner Janez Potocnik underlined the integration of policies achieved by the partnership: "This decision from the EDCTP General Assembly shows the commitment of the participating countries and the European Commission in the fight against the three main poverty-related diseases in and for Africa. We're confident that our cooperation with African researchers will make a difference".

Prof. Charles Mgone, EDCTP’s executive director expressed the significance of the approval when he said: “This is a very significant milestone for collaboration between north and south in the fight against the three main diseases of poverty namely HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. It is also very gratifying to note that among the 26 projects approved for funding 22 have African scientists based in Africa as their principal investigators. This underscores EDCTP’s objective of fostering a genuine partnership and enhancing clinical research capacity in Africa.”

EDCTP aims through research integration to accelerate the development of new or improved drugs, vaccines, diagnostics and microbicides against HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis, with a focus on phase II and III clinical trials in sub-Saharan Africa.

EDCTP supports integrated multicentre projects which combine clinical trials, capacity building and networking. The aim of integrating these three activities is to develop the capacity to conduct clinical trials in sub-Saharan Africa in a sustainable way.

The basis of EDCTP is partnership. It unites 14 participating European Union (EU) Member States plus Norway and Switzerland with sub-Saharan African countries. The partnership helps EU Member States to integrate and coordinate their own national research and development programmes and form partnerships with their African counterparts.

Ilona van den Brink | alfa
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