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WHO Africa wants to see more COVID-19 vaccine research on the continent

Experts highlighted the importance of more African countries becoming involved in such scientific research.

FILE: A healthcare worker organises COVID-19 tests. Picture: AFP.

CAPE TOWN - African countries should take steps now to strengthen its health systems and improve vaccine delivery ahead of the introduction of a COVID-19 vaccine.

These are the sentiments of the World Health Organisation Africa, briefing media on COVID-19 and vaccine development on the continent on Thursday.

Experts highlighted the importance of more African countries becoming involved in such scientific research.

The WHO said that at present there were nearly 150 COVID-19 vaccine candidates and 19 clinical trials under way.

As a result of the current high rate of disease transmission in South Africa, results from the COVID-19 vaccine trial currently under way might be obtained sooner.

Professor Shabir Madhi said that a COVID-19 vaccine could become available during the first quarter of next year, depending on the trial's outcomes.

"So we would able to determine when a vaccine works when we got up to about 42 cases of COVID-19 that had occurred in participants and we anticipate to have one as soon as November or December of this year. Previously we had projected that we may only obtain one in June of next year."

The WHO has stressed the importance of such research being undertaken on the continent.

More than 12,100 patients on the continent have died after contracting COVID-19, with over 520 infections recorded.

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