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Over 400 participants recruited so far for SA's COVID-19 vaccine trial

The first potential vaccines were administered to some of the volunteers in the randomised trial a month ago. Others received a placebo.

FILE: Professor Martin Veller (L), the Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits University), receives an experimental vaccine for COVID-19 coronavirus at the Respiratory & Meningeal Pathogens Research Unit (RMPRU) at Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital in Soweto on 14 July 2020. Six senior clinicians in the Faculty of Health Sciences at Wits University have volunteered to participate in South Africa’s first COVID-19 vaccine trial. Picture: AFP

CAPE TOWN - Over 400 participants have so far been enrolled in South Africa’s COVID-19 vaccine efficacy trial.

The first potential vaccines were administered to some of the volunteers in the randomised trial a month ago. Others received a placebo.

Local scientists hope to have a COVID-19 vaccine, that provides protection against the disease, available by the first quarter of next year.

Picture: EWN

Wits University has collaborated with the University of Oxford and the Oxford Jenner Institute on the South African COVID-19 randomised vaccine trial.

The aim is to have 2,000 participants enrolled in the Ox1Cov-19 Vaccine VIDA-Trial.

Wits University’s Doctor Clare Cutland said that currently, three trial sites in Gauteng were actively recruiting participants.

“Today, there have been over 700 volunteers who have attended clinic visits and consented to be screened for the trial,” Cutland said.

A Phase 1 trial of the same vaccine in the United Kingdom showed it was safe and prompted an immune response in participants.

Cutland was optimistic about the prospects of the vaccine candidate yielding positive results on home soil.

The trial would be rolled out at vaccination sites in the Western Cape from next week.

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