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SA needs to explore different COVID-19 vacine options, says Wits specialist

Wits University has this week started screening participants for its second vaccine efficacy trial.

FILE: A researcher works on the development of a vaccine against the new coronavirus. Picture: AFP

CAPE TOWN - A vaccine specialist said that it was important that South Africa explored different options for COVID-19 vaccines.

Wits University has this week started screening participants for its second vaccine efficacy trial.

The phase 2 trial will evaluate whether the vaccine candidate protects against COVID-19 in adults.

The NVX-CoV2373 vaccine candidate is being produced by US biotechnology company, Novavax.

The rollout of this COVID-19 vaccine efficacy study follows that of the ChAdOx1-nCoV-19 randomised control trial that got off the ground in June.

Leading the clinical trial is Wits professor of Vaccinology, Shabir Madhi, who explained why it was important to explore different vaccines.

"The legacy of vaccines, it's only about 10% of vaccines that's part of human trials that are eventually found to be safe and efficacious for it to be licenced, so even though there are close to forty different vaccines that have now gone on to human study, we would be very fortunate if even four of five of those vaccines are eventually found to be safe and efficacious."

The trial will enroll approximately 2,900 participants nationally.

It will be conducted in the Free State, Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and the Western Cape.

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