THE Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences (MUHAS), has embarked on the third stage of HIV vaccine trials involving participants who are at high risk of contracting the disease.
The participants who are involved in the study include sex workers.
According to a researcher, Mr Zakaria Mtulo from MUHAS, the previous stages I and II involved members of the armed forces but the third stage has involved a large number of participants who were at risk of getting HIV.
He was speaking at the ongoing Saba Saba exhibitions at Mwalimu Nyerere grounds along Kilwa Road in Dar es Salaam.Mr Mtulo said the third stage commenced in October last year and it has so far recruited 700 participants.
“We are proceeding with the screening stage and from there we will get the required sample size for the third trial which is the efficacy stage,” “When you have a large sample size, the possibility of having the true values or results is high and this is the essence of the third trial,” he said.
He noted that the participants underwent through similar procedures which were done to the members of armed forces, whereby they were screened for HIV, Hepatitis B and C and other health complications before they were enrolled.
He said after they were enrolled, they were given the vaccine that was on trial and will be followed up for three years.
Mr Mtulo said that since they started conducting the trials of the HIV vaccine in 2007, the preliminary findings have shown that the vaccine has the capability of stimulating the body to develop immunity against the virus.
“Since we started conducting the trials more than a decade ago we have seen a very good response to our candidates towards the stimulant and this has made us to move a step ahead going to the third trail,” he said.
He further explained that MUHAS was participating in the vaccine trial because there were multiple circulating strains of HIV, and therefore the virus circulating in Tanzania may not be