Of the estimated 9.6 million people around the world who developed tuberculosis (TB) in 2014, about one in four (28%) were in Africa – the region with the most severe burden relative to the population. In South Africa, TB has been the leading cause of death for more than two decades. The African Region accounts for three out of every four TB (74%) cases among people who are HIV positive.
Africa’s Urgent Need for New TB Vaccines
The most effective way to stop an epidemic like TB is to prevent its spread. While the existing TB vaccine (BCG) protects some children from severe forms of TB, it is unreliable in preventing pulmonary TB, which primarily affects adolescents and adults and is the most infectious form of the disease. In 2014, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared new TB vaccines, together with new drugs and diagnostics, to be critical in eliminating the threat of TB.
Aeras Africa: Regional Focus, Global Network
Aeras’s Africa office in Cape Town is an essential component of our efforts to develop an effective, affordable TB vaccine. Our Africa-based staff play leading roles in preparing for and implementing clinical trials, ensuring the needed laboratory capacity, and overseeing trial data management.
Multinational Clinical Trials
Aeras is currently conducting multiple clinical trials in South Africa, Kenya and Zambia and has previously conducted trials or assisted in trial site capacity development in Uganda, Senegal and Mozambique. In addition to providing crucial data for product development decisions, clinical trials enhance communities where these studies are conducted by employing healthcare workers and site staff, offering increased access to health services and improving healthcare infrastructure and health literacy.
Community Engagement Program
Our Community Engagement Program (CEP) recognizes that communities are integral to the work we do, and aims to ensure broad understanding of and input into the clinical trials being conducted within local populations. Aeras is also working to establish a network for all TB vaccine trial sites to be able to interact with each other and their communities.
Building Regional Laboratory Capacity
For more than a decade, Aeras has helped build TB diagnostic and immunology assay capacity in Africa through infrastructure development and staff training. Aeras played an important role in development of an online Good Clinical Laboratory Practice (eGCLP) course, in collaboration with the Global Health Network (GHN), and an online TB Laboratory Forum. Together, these efforts foster collaboration between African laboratories and support high-quality clinical laboratory practices on the continent.
TB Policy and Advocacy to Support Clinical Trials
The Aeras Africa office leads regional TB vaccine advocacy and education. Areas works to inform policy makers, scientists, media, civil society and the public about the need for new TB vaccines and the inclusion of vaccines in National TB Strategies. Informed stakeholders are important to mobilizing resources and creating the conditions for successful TB vaccine R&D on the continent.
Building Upon Progress
The Aeras Africa office, located in Cape Town, South Africa, is geographically well-positioned to conduct and support clinical trials, collaborate with key stakeholders and the experienced and highly sophisticated biomedical researchers in South Africa, and strengthen regional TB efforts. Aeras Africa is dedicated to ensuring that effective TB vaccines are available to those who need them most.
Contact Aeras Africa
Black River Park
First Floor, Old Warehouse Building
Cape Town, South Africa
P: +27 021 442 4980
F: +27 021 447 4806