Covid-19 vaccine trial underway in South Africa

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South Africa has announced that it is beginning its first Covid-19 vaccine trial with the first participants enrolling this week.

The trial aims at finding a vaccine that will prevent SARS-CoV-2 infection, the virus that causes Covid-19.

The University of the Witwatersrand will be carrying out the trial, according to South African officials.

Professor of Vaccinology at Wits University and Director of the South Africa Medical Research Council Vaccines and Infectious Diseases Analytics Research Unit, Shabir Madhi, on Tuesday confirmed the impending trial.

He said “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.”

Already some 1,950 participants, aged between 18 to 65 and who are HIV negative will be undergoing the trial.

Officials said these individuals should not have tested positive for Covid-19 and should not be pregnant or breastfeeding.

They are also not expected to have previously participated in a trial involving an adenoviral vaccine or received any other coronavirus vaccine.

The trial will also enroll 50 persons living with HIV to examine the safety of how well they would respond to the vaccine.

Those participating in the trial will remain on the trial for about one year.

“Our best-case scenario is that we would have an answer [on the outcomes] for this particular vaccine by the end of the year,” Madhi said

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