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Halting COVID-19 trial shows good oversight, says Wits' Prof Madhi

As part of regulatory procedure, further vaccination of participants enrolled in the study has been halted after a volunteer in the UK fell ill.

Picture: 123rf.com

CAPE TOWN - A Wits University medical expert said that halting the country’s first coronavirus vaccine efficacy trial was in fact evidence of sound clinical practice.

As part of regulatory procedure, further vaccination of participants enrolled in the study has been halted after a volunteer in the UK fell ill.

Wits is collaborating with Oxford University, along with a biopharmaceutical company, to develop a vaccine.

The Independent Data and Safety Monitoring Committee has recommended further vaccination of candidates be temporarily halted while it investigates the UK case which saw a trial participant fall ill.

Wits University said that details could not be disclosed because of patient confidentiality.

Professor Shabir Madhi, executive director of the vaccines and infectious diseases analytics research unit, said that pausing vaccination demonstrated the rigour of the oversight process.

"Assessing the safety of the vaccine is the reason why studies such as these are essential in South Africa before the widespread use of the vaccine."

Five sites in Gauteng and two in the Western Cape are enrolling patients in the study.

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