Be Smart About South Africa

Filling the Dearth Caused by Lack of African Data in Health Care Outcomes

Professor Kelly Chibale has an easygoing manner and a big laugh that belies the fact that he’s one of Africa’s preeminent scientists, and among the world’s top Black leaders in biotech.  Eleven years ago, Chibale set up H3D, the only integrated drug research and development platform in Africa, at the University of Cape Town, where he’s made it his mission to develop drugs that improve treatment outcomes for Black patients, who, he says, are woefully underrepresented in clinical trials. Africa makes up about 15 to 20% of the world’s population. When it comes to clinical trials, less than 2% actually happen on the continent. This is the implication: The volunteers in clinical trials … are largely from the global north, and because the majority of the clinical trials happen outside of Africa, irrespective of the disease area, it means that the dosages and the dosing regimens, whether it’s a drug or a therapeutic or a vaccine … are then brought into Africa. What it then means is the African perspective in those clinical trials is not considered … our genetics.


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