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Africa unveils its first online clinical trials database

The Coalition for African Research and Innovation (CARI) has unveiled Africa’s first Clinical Trials Community platform, an online database focused on- and for medical trials.

Backed by Johnson & Johnson, the US National Institutes of Health (NIH), Wellcome, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and World Economic Forum (WEF), the CTC platform will feature information on research centres, sites, regulators of research in all regions and interactive maps on research centres and sites.

Nicaise Ndembi, Chief Science Advisor, Africa Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) said amid COVID-19, the platform could not have come at a better time.

He added that the COVID-19 Vaccine Clinical Trial (CONCVACT) consortium can provide efficient data on the progress of clinical trials in various African sites.

Ndembi said: “The overlaid trial sites, country regulatory processes, and diseases burden data on display on the African map provided on the CTC platform will set the criteria for trial site selection guidance to potential clinical trial sponsors.”

At the advent of the pandemic, French scientists proposed early clinical trials for vaccines in Kenya, a proposal that was not well received.

Ndembi asserted that this underlines the need to have trusted home-grown solutions for clinical trials.

Clinical trials in Africa are not usual, due to the low research funding and training, CARI explains.

However, there is duplication of clinical trials that the platform aims to cut by providing timely information to researchers.

The organisation released a statement which reads: “The platform aims to reduce bias in funding across countries and disease areas and promote synergy and efficiency across strategic funders in the product development ecosystem. Although this project was already underway, the worldwide rush to develop diagnostics, drugs and vaccines for COVID-19 provides a sense of urgency to develop this one-stop source of information for operational logistics in conducting clinical trials in Africa.”

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