Moderna Inc. has announced that it would begin a trial of its Covid-19 vaccine across eight African countries to determine its efficacy in people who are HIV positive.
The study, which was conducted by about 14,000 volunteers, will evaluate the vaccine’s effectiveness against the omicron coronavirus variant.
According to a joint statement by the Covid-19 Prevention Network,
It “is the first to specifically evaluate the efficacy of a Covid-19 vaccine in people living with HIV, including those with poorly controlled infections,” the groups said. “In addition to examining the efficacy of Covid-19 mRNA vaccines in people living with HIV, the study investigators seek to identify the optimal regimen for this population.”
Africa accounts for 70% of the world’s HIV infections, with 8.2 million people, or 13%, of South Africa’s population infected with the virus that causes the immune system disease AIDS.
Scientists have hypothesized that the beta variant and omicron, both identified first in southern Africa, may have come about because a person with uncontrolled HIV became infected with Covid-19 for a long period, allowing the pathogen to mutate.