New data from Wits vaccine trials ‘promising’ – Prof Madhi

On Friday new research by the Wits Vaccines and Infectious Diseases, Analytics Research Unit found that the Novavax vaccine protected patients who had the variants prevalent in South African and the United Kingdom (UK).

FILE: Wits University's Professor Shabir Madhi said vaccines are the only protection against the virus for people with a weak immune system. Picture: 123rf.com

CAPE TOWN – Scientists say the COVID-19 vaccine remains the only way to fight the coronavirus pandemic, which has killed more than 51,000 people in South Africa.

On Friday new research by the Wits Vaccines and Infectious Diseases, Analytics Research Unit found that the Novavax vaccine protected patients who had the variants prevalent in South African and the United Kingdom (UK).

Executive Director of the unit, Professor Shabir Madhi said new data from the trials remains promising.

“The one is that this vaccine which was targeted against the virus is still able to protect even against mild inception due to the B.1.351 variant that is dominating in SA. The protection against mild to moderate infection in this particular vaccine is in a region of safe."

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Madhi said vaccines are the only protection against the virus for people with a weak immune system.

“But more importantly like that which I believe indicates the importance of COVID-19 vaccines generally is that this vaccine against the B.1.351 variant resulted in 100% protection against severe disease and death."

In a separate study of the Novavax COVID-19 vaccine in the UK, efficacy was 96.4% against the original virus strain and 86.3% against the variant in the UK.

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