16 November 2016 | Press release

Unitaid and ANRS launch initiative in Cameroon to bring new HIV treatments to Africa

André Mama Fouda, Minister of Health, Cameroon, and Philippe Duneton, Unitaid Deputy Executive Director (Image: Tanguy Anoubissi/Unitaid)

A study launched in Yaoundé will test the latest generation of HIV treatment based on Dolutegravir under local conditions, with a view to establishing its viability in Africa. The treatment is already widely available in developed countries.

Currently, in Cameroon and in most African countries, people living with HIV receive combined first-line antiretroviral treatment made up of TDF, 3TC and EFV (1).

New alternative treatments are available that are more robust:  they present less risk of resistance to treatment in the long term and are better tolerated, showing equal or even superior effectiveness.

One such alternative is a dolutegravir-based combination that is already widely prescribed in developed countries but is not available in the majority of countries in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Launched in the presence of Cameroon’s Minister of Public Health and France’s Ambassador to Cameroon, the study aims to gather scientific data on the potential benefits of the treatment, based on dolutegravir, in resource-limited settings.

The ANRS 12313-NAMSAL study, co-financed by UNITAID and the French National Agency of Research on AIDS & Hepatitis (ANRS),  is being carried out in  three hospitals in Yaounde.  It will run for 12 months and will determine the potential clinical and economic benefits of a therapeutic regimen combining Dolutegravir and TDF/3TC in an African setting.

The study will be implemented by a consortium of partners comprising ANRS, the Institut de recherche pour le développement (IRD) and the Institut Bouisson Bertrand. The 600 study participants, none of whom has previously received antiretroviral therapy, will benefit from  post-study monitoring for at least 3 years during which time they will continue to receive the most effective available treatment.

“I welcome with great interest this study in my country. The results will inform our national policies with regard to optimal antiretroviral drugs, not only in Cameroon but throughout Africa,”  said André Mama Fouda, Cameroon’s Minister of Public Health.

“The ANRS 12313-NAMSAL study is a very important component of efforts to optimise antiretrovirals. Data generated will support improved access to antiretroviral treatment for those who need it most,” said Professor Eric Delaporte, co-researcher in the ANRS 12313-NAMSAL study.

The results of the study are intended to inform the World Health Organization’s guidelines for the treatment of HIV patients in Africa. If successful, they will help to accelerate the opening of the market for these combinations to manufacturers of generic medicines and thereby reduce prices as well as improve access.

Professor Jean-Francois Delfraissy, Director of ANRS, said : “there is an urgent need to make the most recent drugs available to developing countries. Research is a major driver of progress in terms of patient care, as it provides national leaders and the WHO with the evidence required for  them to make informed decisions.”

“This initiative is vital for accelerating the availability of the most simple and most effective treatment against HIV in low or middle-income countries, especially for filling the gaps in our understanding of the use of Dolutegravir in resource-limited areas,” said Lelio Marmora, Executive Director of UNITAID.

(1) TDF : Tenofovir Disoproxil Fumarate, 3TC : Lamivudine and EFV : Efavirenz

For more information, please see the attached data sheet.

Communiqués de presse en français: UNITAID et l’ANRS lancent une initiative au Cameroun pour améliorer les traitements contre le VIH et les rendre accessibles en Afrique


About UNITAID

UNITAID is engaged in finding new ways to prevent, treat and diagnose HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria more quickly, more cheaply and more effectively. It takes game-changing ideas and turns them into practical solutions that can help accelerate the end of the three diseases. Established in 2006 by Brazil, Chile, France, Norway and the United Kingdom to provide an innovative approach to global health, UNITAID plays an important part in the global effort to defeat HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, by facilitating and speeding up the availability of improved health tools, including medicines and diagnostics.

About ANRS

Set up in 1988, the French National Agency of Research on AIDS & Hepatitis ANRS (France Recherche Nord & Sud Sida-HIV Hépatites) brings together researchers from developed, and developing countries to study scientific questions. The ANRS funds research projects after they are approved by international expert committees. It supports projects from conception to completion and actively participates in communicating the results to ensure that they are used for the benefit of the populations concerned. Since 2012, it became an autonomous agency of INSERM.

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