- Senior clinicians in the Faculty of Health Sciences at Wits University have volunteered to participate in the country's first coronavirus vaccine trial
- Last week Friday, volunteers were first screened to see if they were eligible for the trial
- Those who passed were vaccinated on Tuesday, 14 July at the Soweto trial site in Johannesburg
Senior clinicians at the Witwatersrand (Wits) University have volunteered to be part of South Africa's first coronavirus vaccine trial.
Professor of Vaccinology Shabir Madhi, who leads the trial, said they need to generate data applicable to local context.
Madhi said the legacy of vaccines shows that they don’t necessarily work similarly across different populations.
Some of Wits' finest decided to offer their services with the hope of find a vaccine. Dr June Fabian, nephrologist and Research Director at the Wits Donald Gordon Medical Centre, leading HIV clinician, Professor Francois Venter, and Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences at Wits and Professor of Surgery, Martin Veller, have volunteered to be part of the trial.
Dr Fabian was involved in the world's first intentional HIV-positive liver transplant in 2018.
Dr Venter, who is the Divisional Director of Ezintsha at Wits University, said the collection of Wits Faculty have first-authored some of the highest-impact medical articles on pandemics.
"It’s important to demonstrate how urgent and safe these [Covid-19 vaccine] studies are, and I have enough confidence in the science to put myself on the line.”
Dr Veller said a vaccine is crucial to manage the effects of the coronavirus in the medium term. He added the pandemic has disrupted public health and economies.
"We need to get a trial done quickly. Anyone who can enrol, and especially we in the healthcare fraternity who understand the risks, should," he said.
The video below provides more insight into the undertaking.
Previously, Briefly.co.za reported Professor Shabir Madhi spoke about the coronavirus being airborne, according to new studies. The acclaimed professor, who led SA's first Covid-19 vaccine trials, said airborne transmission is a reality and a cause for concern.
Madhi said droplets stay in the air for a short period of time and people in the area can be infected, especially in poorly-ventilated spaces.
Meanwhile, in other news, people around the world are feeling hopeful after Russia revealed positive developments in terms of a coronavirus vaccine. Russia announced it completed human trials of the Covid-19 vaccine and the results looked promising.
South Africans flooded social media with their views and many prayed that the vaccine works amid rising number of cases in Mzansi.
Shortly after Russia's news, the UK and the US also reported promising results in their early experiments. Teams from Oxford University and the American pharmaceutical company Moderna have been developing experiment jabs for months.
Both teams have revealed that people in their studies are showing signs of immunity. Oxford scientists said they are 80% confident that they can have a vaccine available by September.
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