Translating animal research into human trials in Ethiopia: Challenges and opportunities

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Addis Abeba University


Background and Objectives: Although the goal of translational research is to bring biomedical knowledge from the laboratory to clinical trial and therapeutic products for improving health, this goal has not been well achieved as often as desired because of many barriers documented in different countries. Therefore, the aim of this study was to investigate the challenges and opportunities of translating animal research into human trials in Ethiopia. Methods: A descriptive qualitative study, using in-depth interviews, was conducted in which preclinical and clinical trial researchers who have been involved in animal research or clinical trials as principal investigator were involved. Data were analyzed using thematic process. Results: Six themes were emerged for challenges: lack of financial and human capacity, inadequate infrastructure, operational obstacles and poor research governance, lack of collaboration, lack of reproducibility of results and prolonged ethical and regulatory approval processes. Furthermore, four themes were synthesized for opportunities: growing infrastructure and resources, improved human capacity and better administrative processes, initiatives for collaboration, and similarities between species. Conclusion and recommendations: The study found that the identified characteristics/features are of high importance either to hurdle or enable the practice of translating animal research into human trials. The study suggests that there should be adequate infrastructure and finance, human capacity building, good research governance, improved ethical and regulatory approval process, multidisciplinary collaboration, and incentives and recognition for researchers to overcome the identified challenges and allow translating of animal research into human trials to proceed more efficiently.



Animal research, Challenges, Ethiopia, Human trials, Opportunities, Translational research