Covid-19 Clinical Trials in Africa

Article By Aleena Maryal IN Clinical Trials - 20th April, 2022

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It has been almost two years since Covid was first discovered in the world. Countries big or small were impacted by this significantly. We have especially seen a big trend of less developed countries being in critical conditions when dealing with a pandemic. As pharmaceutical companies started to test out new vaccines and treatments for the diseases, we have noticed Africa being one of the continents with the least number of clinical trials.
Right now we see that only 16% of the continent is fully vaccinated and 21% have received at least 1 dose of the vaccination. This percentage is the rate per 100 population. Surprisingly we have seen a slight increase in clinical trials as compared to before. But the conditions of clinical trials of Covid in Africa have been very different. Let's dig deeper into why the number of Covid clinical trials is so low.
  • Unethical practices of the African population 
    • There are still large parts of Africa that don’t give the participants in the trials proper consent, information about the risk factors and do not uphold basic human rights. Some parts of the continent have been used as a testing lab for the vaccinations, without any care for the participant's health.
  • In low-income countries, less than 6% of people have been fully vaccinated. 
    • This is mainly due to the fact that low-income countries aren’t a high priority in order to hold clinical trials there. Higher-income families are more likely to be vaccinated since their community has the expense and means for testing the vaccines beforehand. 
  • High levels of vaccine hesitancy 
    • This is one of the greatest threats that block discourages Africans to participate in any kind of clinical trials, especially Covid related. With the countless diseases Africa has encountered, it’s easy for participants to feel like they are being used as ginny pigs for clinical trials. There's a lack of confidence because participants aren’t aware of the effectiveness of the vaccine, the safety measures, and the lack of time needed to process the results.
There is still a large number of people in Africa who are not vaccinated. This is mainly due to the reason that these populations haven’t done enough clinical trials to make sure the vaccines are safe for everyone. There is a critical need for quality control of the vaccines that have developed outside of Africa. This can help the Africans feel more confident to take the vaccines. Infiuss Health can be a great platform that researchers and pharmaceutical companies can use to do remote clinical trials on African participants. This can help to improve the quality and availability of vaccines to the population that has been deprived of this necessity.

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