South Africa moves for first coronavirus vaccine pilot in the continent


With the continuous spread of the Coronavirus pandemic, South Africa plans to roll out the continent’s first coronavirus vaccine trial this week, according to the university leading the pilot, as the country grapples with the highest number of coronavirus cases in Africa.
The vaccine candidate, developed by the Oxford Jenner Institute in the United Kingdom, is already being evaluated there, where 4,000 participants have signed up for the trial.
In South Africa, the University of Witwatersrand (Wits) is collaborating with the University of Oxford and the Oxford Jenner Institute in the trial of the vaccine known as ChAdOx1 nCoV-19. The pilot will involve 2,000 people, including 50 who have HIV.
Professor Shabir Madhi in his address said “they have began screening participants for the South African Oxford 1 COVID-19 vaccine trial last week, and the first participants will be vaccinated this week” through Africa-News.
Report has it that South Africa’s coronavirus cases jumped to more than 100,000 on Monday, while the number of related deaths approached 2,000.
“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,” Madhi said, describing the vaccine trial as a “landmark moment”.
Minister of Health Zweli Mkhize echoed Madhi’s concerns, warning that South Africa was going through a “devastating storm” expected to peak “during the cold winter months”.
At the opening of a field hospital in the Eastern Cape province, Mkhize said on Tuesday there were now more than 27,000 beds for COVID-19 patients and more than 400 quarantine sites across the country.
In the report so far more than 3,500 doctors and nurses in the country have contracted COVID-19, the highly infectious disease caused by the novel coronavirus, since the start of the pandemic, and at least 34 have succumbed to the respiratory disease. Africa-News reports.


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