FHI Ends Viread Clinical Trial in CameroonFamily Health International announced on Wednesday that it is terminating a clinical trial testing Gilead's antiretroviral drug Viread among commercial sex workers in Cameroon, IRIN/AllAfrica.com reports (IRIN/AllAfrica.com, 8/10). The Cameroon trial was part of a randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial of Viread -- known generically as tenofovir -- among 2,000 HIV-negative volunteers at sites in Africa and Asia. The trial was funded with a $6.5 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. However, Cameroon's Ministry of Health in February announced that it was suspending its trial arm after the advocacy group ACT UP/Paris claimed that volunteers in the study got too little information and care for their participation (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 2/8). According to an FHI statement, the clinic where the trials are taking place will be closed by the end of September after women have made their final visits. The five women who have contracted HIV during the Cameroon trial will have long-term access to HIV/AIDS therapy in accordance with Cameroon National AIDS Control Programme standards, FHI added.
Debate on Ethics To Continue
Despite the termination of the trial, international agencies, including UNAIDS, still are discussing how to provide trial participants with long-term HIV/AIDS treatment, according to FHI. In addition, a large network of nongovernmental organizations have been addressing the issue since the suspension of the Cameroon trial in February, according to Regis Samba-Koundzi, head of ACT UP/Paris' North/South commission (IRIN/AllAfrica.com, 8/10).