Early on, experts realised that the most effective way to combat the COVID-19 pandemic was not, as some countries assumed, herd immunity, but with a vaccine.
Our still relatively incomplete knowledge about the virus demands it.
South Africa has been part of global efforts to beat the coronavirus. The South African-produced corticosteroid medication dexamethasone has been touted as a breakthrough drug in treating critically ill COVID-19 patients.
Our top universities have also been applying their minds to the task, with the University of Witwatersrand conducting rapid tests studies to diagnose the infected faster and with more accuracy.
Wits is also working with Oxford University to test their vaccine with human trials starting this week.
The trial aims to find a vaccine that will prevent SARS-CoV-2 infection, which is the virus that causes Covid-19.
“This is a landmark moment for South Africa and Africa at this stage of the Covid-19 pandemic. As we enter winter in South Africa and pressure increases on public hospitals, now more than ever we need a vaccine to prevent infection by Covid-19,” Professor of Vaccinology at Wits University and Director of the South Africa Medical Research Council Vaccines and Infectious Diseases Analytics Research Unit, Shabir Madhi, said in a virtual briefing on Tuesday.
Watch that announcement, here:
They began screening participants for the vaccine trial last week and the first of the participants will be vaccinated this week. According to Madhi, participants will form part of three groups:
The 1 950 people participating in the trial, who are HIV negative and between 18 and 65 years old, should not have tested positive for COVID-19.
The trial is enrolling people living with HIV to measure their safety and response to the vaccine. All participants will remain on the trial for one year.
The trial will be implemented through half of the participants who will receive the ChAdOx1 COVID-19 (ChAdOx1-Cov19) vaccine and the other half (the control group) will receive a placebo (normal saline).
Participants will be given an e-diary to record any symptoms experienced for seven days after receiving the vaccine and they will also record if they feel unwell for the following three weeks.
Following vaccination, the participants will then go through a process of follow-ups where researchers will check participants’ observations, review the completed e-diaries, and take blood samples, which will be used to assess the immune response to the vaccine.
If a participant develops symptoms of the virus after vaccination they will be assisted in finding hospital care.
According to the institution, the objective of the trial is to investigate if the ChAdOx1-Cov19 vaccine will protect against Covid-19, if it doesn’t cause unacceptable side effects and whether it induces satisfactory immune responses.
The Department of Health has obviously pledged its support.
“South Africa must always lead from the front. There would be no better time than today to actually launch this vaccine trial as the country has reached a landmark of over 100 000 infections recorded last night,” director-general Dr Sandile Buthelezi said.
The rate of COVID-19 confirmed cases is steadily rising, as this graph shows.
A vaccine would be a longterm solution to the pandemic, and a very welcome one.
[imagesource: Twitter / @JJSubroyen] Part of the Engen oil refinery in Wentworth, south...
[imagesource:here] As President Ramaphosa pointed out in last night's 'family meeting',...
It's tough to know who is the weakest cog in the Trump campaign's efforts to overturn the ...
[imagesource:here] According to Urban Dictionary, many pastimes and beverages have a si...
Motorists on the N2 on Tuesday morning at around 7:30AM were shocked to see a brazen assau...