EU launches key Africa AIDS research centre
Last Updated: 2004-07-26
CAPE TOWN (Reuters) – The European Union on Monday launched a research centre in South Africa to help Africa fight the spread of HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.
The diseases kill millions of people on the continent annually, with an estimated 3,000 children dying of malaria – a preventable and curable illness – every day.
European Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP) executive director Piero Olliaro told reporters in Cape Town the group would fund 18 clinical trials in Africa and nine in Europe over the next three years.
"These are the immediate priorities for the first semester of operations of the EDCTP," he said at the opening of the EU-funded organisation’s Africa office in Cape Town.
Southern Africa suffers the highest HIV/AIDS infection levels in the world. With more than five million living with HIV or AIDS, South Africa has the highest caseload in the world.
Olliaro said the EDCTP, based at South Africa’s Medical Research Council, aimed to boost the quality of studies into the three diseases.
"Regulations and ethics today require that clinical trials be conducted to meet the highest standards. Thus, we must ensure that the capacities exist in Africa to meet these requirements," he said.
The EU has budgeted 3.5 million euro ($4.2 million) in the first year of the trials, and will help set up a clinical trials registry documenting past and present research, Olliaro said.