|Microbicides researchers gather in Australia|
|Monday, 16 April 2012 00:00|
MICROBICIDES researchers from across the globe are gathered here in Sydney, Australia were Zimbabwean researchers are expecting to learn advanced techniques in preventing HIV transmission in women. The Seventh International Conference is being held under the theme: From Discovery to Delivery.
The theme comes against the backdrop of a two decade quest for a microbicide as a woman controlled technology against HIV infection.
Speaking on the sidelines of the conference, Zimbabwean researcher Dr Nyaradzo Mgodi of the University of Zimbabwe in collaboration with the University of San Francisco in California (UZ-USFC) said the conference would provide them with an opportunity to showcase their efforts in combating HIV transmission among women in Zimbabwe.
Dr Mgodi said the Zimbabwean researchers are looking forward to learning recent advances in HIV/Aids as it is a dynamic field.
“As you may know HIV and Aids is a dynamic field and we hope this conference will give us an opportunity to learn of recent advances in the sector,” Dr Mgodi said.
The conference started yesterday and will end on Wednesday.
UZ-USFC executive director Professor Mike Chirenje said this year’s conference was unique as it was being held with evidence that some microbicides actually work.
These include a common antiretroviral drug, Tenofovier, which was tested for its effectiveness and safety in South Africa in 2010.
The study code-named Caprisa 004 showed 39 percent effectiveness in reducing HIV transmissions among women.
“All I can say is as researchers we have come a long way with these trials,” Professor Chirenje said.
He said Zimbabwe was one of the first countries in Africa to embark on microbicide trials when they were first initiated and this conference is a culmination of positive prevention of HIV/Aids using research.
In his keynote address during the official opening of the International Microbicides Conference, South Africa researcher Professor Salim Abdool Karim urged fellow researchers to be persistent, create partnerships with communities and explore new ways of measuring adherence among participants.
Prof Abdool Karim who was the principal investigator in the Caprisa 004 study was speaking from his experience on the successful study.
He said although they had evidence that Tenofovier works in reducing HIV transmission in women, they still needed more research to confirm the results before being licensed.
“We have had good evidence that Tenofovier works but not robust enough to warrant licensure,” he said.