Nigeria has restarted plans for a vaccine against HIV, 13 years after the first National HIV Vaccine Plan (NHVP) collapsed due to lack of funding. The plan, developed by the National Agency for Control of AIDS (NACA) and partners – US Department of Defence and SI Consulting – hopes to bring the country back into global efforts to develop an HIV vaccine, NACA Director General John Idoko said.
The 68-page plan details how to build and enhance capacity for HIV vaccine research, strengthen regulations and scientific processes, ensure proper research framework for possible vaccine trial.
“We need to be part of this vaccine initiative, we need to take it beyond what we did last time,” Idoko said, remarking that Nigeria needs to pilot its own efforts in HIV vaccine research because serotypes of HIV most found in the country were not part of vaccine constructs in countries where research was underway.
He also noted that despite a 25% decline in Nigeria’s HIV prevalence in the last decade, the country’s population means it still has the world’s second largest burden of HIV after South Africa.
Secretary to the Government of the Federation Senator Anyim Pius Anyim, who officially launched the revised plan, said it demonstrated Nigeria’s lead role “in promoting global policies on the continent and a resolve to ensure continuous decline of Nigeria’s burden of HIV.”