The Centre for Infectious Disease Research in Zambia (CIDRZ), hosted its first Zambian Human Infection Challenge studies (HIC) virtual Symposium. The Symposium was held on 8th October 2020, during the 9th Zambia Health Research Conference (ZHRC), held from 7th to 9th October ,2020.
In his opening remarks, CIDRZ Chief Scientific Officer, Dr Roma Challenge said, “CIDRZ is excited to host the symposium as it gives the organisation an opportunity to start conversations around HIC studies in Zambia”.
“The topic on HIC is important for scientific research progression in the country and will enable us to participate in vaccine trials that will test and evaluate products that are good for purpose and good for the population”, Dr Chilengi said.
Human Infection Challenge Studies (HICs) involve intentional infection of study participants with a well-characterized and controlled challenge agent with the aim of testing vaccines and studying disease pathophysiology. HICs are relatively new in Africa with few countries conducting them. Given that Africa is endemic to most infectious diseases finding a vaccine that is effective in our settings is imperative.
The theme for the symposium was, “Human Infection Challenge Studies as a tool to achieve Universal Health Coverage”.
Some of the topics covered during the symposium were:
- Findings from a study on willingness to participate in HIC and compensation
- Infectious Disease in Zambia: The need for vaccines
- Engaging the ethics and regulatory authorities on HIC
- Kenya HICs and its benefits/gaps
- Scientific rationale for HIC and
- A debate on Covid-19 HIC
The Speakers included, Dr Roma Chilengi, Dr Anjali Sharma, Dr Masuzyo Chirwa, Ms Hope Chinganya, Ms Chanda Mwamba, Ms Evelyn N’gandu and Mr Michelo Simyandi from the CIDRZ Research department, Dr Sody. M. Munsaka, acting Dean of the School of Health Sciences and chairperson of the University of Zambia Biomedical Research Ethics Committee (UNZABREC) and Dr Melissa Kapulu from KEMRI -Wellcome Trust Research Programme in Kenya.