South Africa will begin its first clinical trial this week for a vaccine against the novel coronavirus.
Participants from across Africa will be vaccinated in the South African-led trial, researchers said during a virtual news conference hosted at the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) in Johannesburg.
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), who is leading the trial, said “This is a landmark moment for South Africa and Africa at this stage of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Madhi said: “We began screening participants for the South African Oxford 1 COVID-19 vaccine trial last week and the first participants will be vaccinated this week.”
South Africa is the worst-hit country on the continent with 106,108 cases and 2,102 deaths. Health officials have warned of a surge in infections in the coming days.
At least 53,444 people have recovered from COVID-19 in the country, which translates to a recovery rate of 52.6%.
Authorities have conducted nearly 1.4 million tests since the virus was first detected in the country nearly three months ago, with 25,116 carried out in the past 24 hours.
The novel Corona Virus is continuing its spread across the world, with more than nine million confirmed cases in 188 countries. Nearly 500,000 people have lost their lives.
Yesterday, the latest statistics provided by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) reveal Nigeria now has 22,020 confirmed cases of the virus.