The Numolux Group

Africa has what is necessary to conduct much needed clinical trials

Dr. Sarita Naidoo, Head of Clinical Research at the Numolux Group has been focusing on the clinical
trial trends in Africa, the existing capabilities to conduct research, the efforts made to strengthen
clinical research capacity, and the key factors which make our African continent a prime research

She says: “The African region comprises over 16% of the world’s population, yet accounts for 25% of
the global disease burden. Sadly, Africa is underrepresented in clinical trials and only contributes to
around 2% of the total number of clinical trials conducted globally. This indicates that a large
percentage of medical treatments and vaccines are studied at research sites that are located outside
of the continent, without considering implications of use in African populations, or within African
health systems”

A recent analysis conducted by Global Data Healthcare explored various clinical trial health trends in
Africa from 2016 – 2021, found (amongst other findings) that oncology trials only account for 6% of
trials conducted in Africa

According to Dr. Naidoo, this low number is a huge research gap. She goes on to point out that less
than 6% of global Covid-19 trials were conducted in Africa

“There are over 1,400, clinical research sites in Africa, with 11 countries having 20 sites or more.
Africa has the clinical trial infrastructure, experienced investigators and scientists, and capabilities to
conduct good quality, compliant research across a range of diseases. Infrastructure is well developed
in countries like Egypt, South Africa, Kenya, Uganda, and Zimbabwe. However, we have to
acknowledge that infrastructure is less developed in other countries. Many countries in Africa,
including Nigeria and Kenya have national biosafety level 3 laboratories for working with viruses and
other highly infectious pathogens. Gabon and South Africa have biosafety level 4 laboratories. So we
have the research capacity and clinical trial infrastructure in place.”