KIU, Western Campus – The government of South Africa yesterday, June 23 announced plans to begin clinical trials this week for a vaccine against COVID-19, which has ravaged one of Africa’s biggest economies.
“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,” the Anadolu Agency reported.
Western media hailed this development as a “landmark moment for South Africa and Africa at this stage of the COVID-19 pandemic”, quoting Shabir Madhi(in the picture), 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.
Many countries are in a race against time to secure a vaccine against COVID-19, as the world seeks to recover from the hammer blow dealt to life as the majority know it, by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has infected millions and killed hundreds of thousands the world over.
South Africa alone has lost over 1,900 people to COVID-19, registering over 100,000 infections, making it Africa’s most-affected country.
Uganda’s President, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni recently revealed that scientists at his country’s Uganda Virus Research Institute (UVRI) were in the advanced stages of discovering their own vaccine, according to the Global Times.
South Africa’s announcement of impending human trials will not only come as a boost to efforts to end the pandemic but as encouragement to scientists in other countries like Uganda as well.
Picture credit: World Health Organization