LATEST: South Africa begins Covid-19 vaccine trials tomorrow

indafrica June 23, 2020
Updated 2020/06/23 at 1:07 PM

The first clinical trials for the Covid-19 virus in the country and in Africa as a whole will be kicking off this week.

The first participants in the trial will be vaccinated soon, according to the University of the Witwatersrand.

The South African Ox1Cov-19 Vaccine VIDA-Trial aims to find a vaccine that will prevent infection of the virus that causes Covid-19.

The trial will be led by Shabir Madhi, Professor of Vaccinology at Wits University and Director of the South Africa Medical Research Council (SAMRC) Vaccines and Infectious Diseases Analytics Research Unit (VIDA).

Commenting at the launch of the vaccine trial, which will take place at numerous sites in SA, Madhi said that:

“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 Zeblon Vilakazi facilitated the virtual launch and weighed in on the historic moment:

“Wits University identified vaccinology as a key institutional flagship project in 2016. Vaccines are amongst the most powerful tools to mitigate life-threatening diseases.

Without a vaccine against Covid-19, there will likely be ongoing contagion, causing severe illness and death. Wits is committed to developing a vaccine to save lives in collaboration with the University of Oxford.”

The vaccine is currently being evaluated in a massive trial in the United Kingdom, with over 4 000 participants already enrolled. The vaccine was developed by the Oxford Jenner Institute.

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