April 2007 APRIL

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					                                                                                         APRIL 2007, Volume 6, Issue 4


       In this issue...                     Hooray for the CHINA CIPRA!
Our main story focuses
on the recent China
CIPRA Scientific Advisory
Board Meeting. The
meeting was held in Bei-
jing and was attended by
Prof Salim Abdool Karim
who was extremely im-
pressed by the progress
that has been made in
China through the CIPRA.

Colleagues and friends
from Family Health Inter-
national visited CAPRISA        China CIPRA Core A team with Prof Salim Abdool Karim
in April. The purpose of
their visit was to assess
site readiness and en-
sure that each site has
the appropriate facilities,
                               H    eartiest congratulations from CAPRISA to
                                    our Chinese colleagues. At the end of
                               the two and half day Scientific Meeting in
                                                                               China CIPRA is now a full fledged member of
                                                                               the NIH’s global research effort to confront
                                                                               the scourge of AIDS.
equipment and staff            Beijing, I was left totally impressed and
                               overwhelmed at what has been accom-                When I first heard about CIPRA, Rod Hoff
complement in place                                                           described it to me as a “Marshall Plan” for
prior to site activation,      plished by the China CIPRA.
                                                                              research – for those whose history is rusty,
and to participate in the
                                   The team, which is so ably led by Shao, this was the post-war plan where the USA
protocol specific training     Yiming (I have to remember that the Chinese provided funding to the allies in Europe in a
in preparation for the
                               write surnames first), has much to be proud manner where each country could decide
Microbicide trial (see
                               of. They have conducted two HIV seropreva- how best to undertake its own reconstruc-
page 3 for details).           lence surveys to quantify and describe a       tion programme. The China CIPRA pro-
                               potential HIV timebomb of high HIV preva-      gramme can certainly claim success in its
                               lence in sex workers, undertaken a behav-      implementation of this vision. In the course
                               ioural peer-leader intervention trial, studied of this venture, they have developed a team
                               immune responses in patients infected          ready and willing to transition to the CTU.
                               through plasma donation, initiated a hun-      But the end of the CIPRA also has its anxie-
                               dred AIDS patients on HAART and developed ties and uncertainties – the China CIPRA is in
                               and manufactured a vaccine with the Chi-       the midst of submitting R01s and applica-
   CONTACT DETAILS             nese Tiantan strain of vaccinia under GMP      tions to other funders including the Chinese
                               conditions. Well, if this is not enough to im- government to enable them to continue their
  Doris Duke Medical Re-                                                      research with long-term stability.
                               press, they did all this from scratch
 search Institute (DDMRI)
         (2nd Floor)           “building the boat as they were sailing” –
                               the infrastructure and capacity developed          China is such a country of excitement
Nelson R Mandela School of                                                    and contrasts. The China CIPRA held their
          Medicine             through the CIPRA is impressive.
                                                                              Scientific Advisory Board meeting, chaired by
University of KwaZulu-Natal,
  Private Bag X7, Congella         As I listened and imbibed the enthusi-     Jay Levy, at a Beijing hotel located on the
            4013               asm of the Chinese investigators, I recalled famous Wang FuJing Street, the pedestrian
        South Africa           my previous visit to China when I went to      street made famous for its shopping. Walk-
                               Hangzhou for the CIPRA meeting a few years ing along this street, one sees the epitome
    T: +27-31-260 4555         ago. What a transformation since then!         of the challenges in China – the challenges
    F: +27-31-260 4566         Gone is the hesitancy of being new to the      of breaking the shackles of under-
                               NIH system of doing research – the team is     development to become part of the modern
E-mail: caprisa@ukzn.ac.za                                                    world with its consumerist trappings.
                               bubbling, confident and dedicated, with a
                               work ethic that needs to be witnessed to be
                               appreciated. Volumes of SOPs later, the                            Continued on page 2. . . . .
                                                                                                  April 2007; 6(4): page 2


    China CIPRA Scientific Advisory Board Meeting                                               continued. From page 1. . . .




Prof Salim Abdool Karim (left) with Prof Yiming Shao (China CIPRA Principal Investigator) at the China CIPRA Scientific Advi-
sory Board Meeting held in Beijing

From page 1. . . . .                                           you are wondering – no, I did not have the guts to try
    Regardless, I walked along Wang FuJing Street, mar-        any of them.
veled at the shops selling beautiful Chinese antiques and
Chinese tea alongside shops selling cheap copycat prod-            My visit to China was a poignant reminder of how we
ucts and stepped into the Oriental Mall – a transforma-        sometimes take so much for granted. We sometimes for-
tion! The shops are Rolex, Coach, McDonalds, DKNY – yes,       get how we also started in South Africa with so little af-
why bother going to New York when you can have the             ter the isolation period of the apartheid era. Our sister
New York shopping experience right here in Beijing.            CIPRA in China is now well on its way with solid founda-
                                                               tions and strong leadership which are the essential in-
    No description of China can be complete without            gredients for success.
waxing lyrical about the cuisine. In short, every meal is a
                                                               Salim S. Abdool Karim
banquet. Lunch comprises about 15 courses while din-
ner exceeds 20. My new experience was fish lips – yes,
you read correctly, fish lips – quite tasty, I might add.
Later on the same menu we had chicken feet
(comparable to South African style chicken feet) and for-
est frog soup. By the third meal, I decided to quench my
curiosity and ask why the rice is served only at the end.
I am used to US or South African Chinese restaurants
where rice (or noodles) accompanies every dish – in
China, the rice comes only at the end after all the other
20 courses have been eaten. It turns out that this ap-
proach is intended to allow you to savour each course
and not adulterate it with the starches and it is served
at the end in case you are still hungry after the previous
20 courses! Walking through the night market in Beijing
is quite an experience – almost any kind of cuisine is on      Enjoying a night out at one of the Chinese restaurants were
offer – scorpions, seahorses, and silkworm pupae, all          (L-R): Jay Levy, restaurant waitress , Sharon Levy and Salim
served on a stick, fried freshly when ordered. In case         Abdool Karim
                                                                                                   April 2007; 6(4): page 3


                  CAPRISA’s microbicide trial launch imminent
Several collaborators from Family Health International (FHI) recently visited CAPRISA from
12-20 April in preparation for the upcoming microbicide trial (CAPRISA 004)
    The Clinical Project Manager, Ms Amanda Troxler,       from CAPRISA, on Ethical Considerations and the In-
Lead Monitor, Ms Stephanie Combes, and the Dep-            formed Consent process.
uty Direct of Research Dissemination, Ms Elizabeth
Robinson, visited the clinical Research Sites in Vu-           CAPRISA 004 is a phase IIb, two-arm, double-
lindlela and eThekwini. The primary purpose of             blind, randomized, controlled trial assessing the
their visit was to assess and ensure that each site        safety and effectiveness of 1% tenofovir gel, a can-
has the appropriate facilities, equipment and staff        didate vaginal microbicide, in sexually active HIV
compliment in place prior to site activation.              uninfected women at risk for HIV infection in South
                                                           Africa.
    The study specific training for this trial was also
undertaken during their visit. The training was or-            Study product has arrived on site and screening
ganised and presented by the CAPRISA 004 team,             will begin in late May. We anticipate that the first
included several high quality presentations. One of        participant will be enrolled in June 2007 and the
the highlights of the training programme was the           study will be completed in December 2009. The
presentation by Dr Kate MacQueen, a social behav-          study is being conducted at CAPRISA’s Vulindlela
ioral investigator from FHI, and Ms Silvia Maarschalk      and eThekwini Clinical Research Sites.




                                              Photos courtesy of Dr Kate MacQueen and Dr Ayesha Kharsany
                                                                                                                         April 2007; 6(4): page 4


                                                        Research update – March 2007
                                                                                               Screened                       No. Enrolled
                                    Study                         Site
                                                                                    Total           Cumulative          Total      Cumulative

                                    Acute Infection          Umbilo                     1                    50           1              50

                                                             Vulindlela                 68              2593             35             942
                                    CAT
                                                             eThekwini                  74              1835             10             485

                                    SAPIT                    eThekwini                  60                  683          31             269

                                    START                    eThekwini                  0                   147           0             58*

                                    CHAVI                    eThekwini                  726             1079              4              7

                                    HEPS                     Umbilo                     -                    -            9              73

                                      * enrolment stopped


                                                              CSRC update – March 2007
                                      Abstracts submitted for              Manuscripts submitted for                  Ancillary studies sub-
                                              review                                review                              mitted for review
                                            #
                                       Total       Cumulative^               Total#
                                                                                         Cumulative^                  Total#      Cumulative^

                                            2                81                     1                   29                0                6

                                            # for month, ^since committee initiation




CAPRISA is supported by the
                                   Upcoming Conference & Workshop Reminders
 National Institute of Allergy
  and Infectious Diseases                                                       Deadlines
(NIAID), National Institutes of
        Health (NIH),              Conference               dates        Abstracts Registration                               website
US Department of Health and        3rd SA AIDS Confer- 5-8 Jun            31 Jan
      Human Services                                                                         18 May 2007          www.sa-aidsconference.com/
     (Grant # AI51794)
                                   ence                2007                2007
                                   3rd Int Workshop on
A multi-institutional collabora-                            7-9 Jun       30 Apr
                                   HIV & HBV Co-                                             15 Mar 2007          www.virology-education.com
tion, incorporated as an inde-                               2007          2007
 pendent non-profit AIDS Re-
                                   infection
     search Organisation                                   22-25 Jul       7 Mar
                                   4th IAS conference                                        10 May 2007                www.ias2007.org/
                                                             2007           2007
    Registration Number:
      2002/024027/08                                      20-23 Aug       31 Mar                                  www.hivvaccineenterprise.org/
                                   AIDS Vaccine 07                                           30 April 2007
                                                            2007           2007                                      conference/index.html
    www.caprisa.org
                                                           1-3 Oct
                                   PACT conference                                                                      www.phru.co.za
                                                            2007
                                                          24-27 Feb       30 Sept
                                   Microbicide 2008                                           30 Oct 2007          www.microbicides2008.com
                                                            2008           2007


                                 Board: JM van Bever Donker SS Abdool Karim AC Bawa CM de la Rey AG Rosenfield BD Schoub
    Scientific Advisory Board: HM Coovadia SR Benatar J Darbyshire C Hankins LE Makubalo D Martin V Mizrahi ZL Mkhize BM Nyembezi Y Shao N Xundu
     Executive Committee: SS Abdool Karim Q Abdool Karim L Barnabas A Berkman G Churchyard J Frohlich A Gray CM Gray W Hide K Mlisana L Morris
                                      K Naidoo N Padayatchi R Parathnandh JA Singh E Susser JCM Swart C Williamson

				
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