South Africa is taking part in Africa’s first human trials aimed at producing a potential vaccine against the novel coronavirus, which continues to surge in the country.
Oxford University, in conjunction with South Africa’s University of the Witwatersrand, announced Wednesday thousands of volunteers between the ages of 18 and 65 who received the vaccination will be monitored for 12 months to see how well the vaccine guards against COVID-19.
South Africa is the second country outside of Britain taking take part in the Oxford trial after Brazil launched its study on Wednesday.
Oxford University scientists, who developed the vaccine, also known as AZD1222, are working with AstraZeneca on development and production.
Shabir Madhi, professor in vaccinology at Wits University said, this is most likely the first of at least three to four other vaccine studies on COVID-19, that will be done in South Africa over the period of the next six months.
South Africa, which is gradually relaxing coronavirus lockdown restrictions, has the highest rate of infections in Africa, with more than 100,000 cases and more than 2,000 deaths.
Meantime, Brazil’s Health Ministry said Wednesday, the country’s coronavirus cases and deaths are surging, resulting in nearly 1.2 million cases since the pandemic began, and more than 53,800 deaths.