With COVID-19 cases continuing to rise in South Africa, the country is set to play a major role in the race to find the vaccine. It will participate in two more international trials for vaccine candidates.
South Africa reported an additional 2,511 cases yesterday and an additional 130 deaths, taking their total cases to 566,109 – the fifth highest tally in the world. The death toll also stands at 10,751 according to Johns Hopkins University.
Furthermore, KwaZulu-Natal has overtaken the Western Cape with 100,494 cases compared to the formerly worst affected province’s 100,316. Gauteng has 194,093 cases. The good news is that the recovery rate in South Africa now stands at 75%, according to News24, well above the global average of 62%.
Perhaps the most crucial development yesterday, however, was the announcement that, following the previous announcement that South Africa would take part in the promising Oxford COVID-19 vaccine trials, the country will now join two further trials, according to News24.
Dr Glenda Gray, President and CEO of the South African Medical Research Council, has confirmed to Spotlight that a Johnson & Johnson product called Ad26.COV2-S and Novavax’s product NVX-CoV2373 will be trialed in the country starting from next month. This follows the announcement by Professor in Vaccinology at Wits University, Shabir Madhi, that the Ox1Cov-19 Vaccine VIDA trial in a collaboration with Oxford University will be tested by more than 2,000 South African volunteers being screened or given the vaccine.
The trial taking place at the Cape Town Lung Institute includes Dr Grey and will follow the methodology of double-blind testing.
“We are all citizens of this country and we are all affected by COVID-19. Scientists need to roll up their sleeves in more ways than one. We are usually at one end of the needle and we are never at the shooting (receiving) end of the needle,” she says.
The three trials are all part of the WHO’s list of the 26 most viable candidate vaccines to go into human clinical trials.