SA expected to begin piloting HIV prevention shot in early 2023

South Africa is expected to begin piloting the every-other-month HIV prevention shot early next year, according to the international medicine financing initiative Unitaid. New modelling shows that the injection could prevent as many as 52 000 new HIV infections in the next two decades. But to be cost-effective in South Africa, the research argues, the price of the injection must fall to levels drugmaker ViiV Healthcare says are unrealistic. Laura Lopez Gonzalez reports.

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Women in Health: “I don’t like seeing anybody treated unfairly” – new leader of HIV Clinicians Society

Juliet Houghton was recently appointed as the CEO of the Southern African HIV Clinician’s Society (SAHCS). As part of Spotlight’s Women in Health series, Bienne Huisman spoke to her about her life working in HIV, her new role at the SAHCS, the importance of being able to laugh, and the Shakespearian origins of her name.

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In-depth: New licenses could spark manufacture of COVID-19 pills in Africa

Pharmaceutical companies Merck and Pfizer recently announced early results from clinical trials showing that two new antiviral medicines are highly effective in reducing COVID-19 deaths and hospitalisation. The Medicines Patent Pool then announced licensing deals with both companies that will allow for generic versions of the two drugs to be produced. Catherine Tomlinson unpacks the licenses and asks whether generic versions of these pills might now be made in Africa.

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High hopes for deal to unlock local COVID-19 vaccine manufacturing

On Monday President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that South Africa will host the first World Health Organization-backed COVID-19 mRNA vaccine Technology Transfer Hub – an initiative designed to get the production of mRNA vaccines off the ground in Africa. Parties involved in the hub expect to hear as early as next week whether pharmaceutical companies with mRNA COVID-vaccines for COVID-19 on the market – Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech – will share their know-how with the hub. Chris Bateman reports for Spotlight.

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Breakthrough hepatitis C medicines remain in regulatory limbo

Over the last decade the treatment of hepatitis C, a virus that can infect and damage the liver, has been revolutionised by a new class of medicines called direct acting antivirals. Catherine Tomlinson investigates the regulatory obstacles that are limiting access to these breakthrough medicines in South Africa.

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