Ministry of Health says the University of North-Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) will start conducting HIV vaccine trials in the country next year (2018).

Speaking in an interview with Malawi News Agency (MANA) Tuesday, Public Relations Officer (PRO) for the Ministry, Joshua Malango said currently, the trials are conducted in South Africa and Zambia.

“In other countries such as South Africa the trials have already started. Here in Malawi we have delayed a bit because we are waiting for the Malawi Poisons Board to conduct an assessment and certification of the project,” Malango said.

He added that the project, which is expected to run for three months, will start in Lilongwe District and will target women between the age range of 18 to 35 years.

“Area 18 Health Centre in Lilongwe has been earmarked as the first facility where the trials
will be conducted,” he added.

He said the country will benefit because if the trials produce positive results, it will help the country to make remarkable strides in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

Commenting on the development, the Country Director for the University of North-Carolina at Chapel Hill, Innocent Mofolo said the study is expected to enroll 2600 healthy and HIV negative female participants in five Sub-Saharan countries, Malawi inclusive.

But he pointed out that in Malawi, 100 women only will be enrolled saying this is a good sample to produce good results.

The HIV vaccine trial is an experiment aimed at gauging whether the vaccine regiment is safe and able to prevent HIV infections.