Tuesday, 18 May 2021

Coronavirus horror: WHO reveals life-threatening COVID-19 fear for Africa

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Health experts are concerned the continent could be left behind and believe Africa has to act immediately to change the situation.

Currently, only South Africa from the continent is involved in the trials underway across the world.

The country joins the Americas, Asia and Europe in new trials to discover a vaccine.

South Africa are set to take part in their first clinical trial this week.

This comes after the number of cases across Africa is more than 320,000.

Whilst the death rate climbed past 8,600 deaths.

John Nkengasong, director of the African Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, hopes the continent can improve their position.

He said: “The absence of vaccine trials on this map [of Africa] is concerning,”

“The African continent needs to act now and work together to play a major role in shaping the global vaccine agenda, or risk being pushed to the back of the line.”

Clinical trials have begun in China, the United States and several European countries, at different stages.

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Chinese President Xi Jinping also supported calls for Africa to be made a priority.

Last week, the President revealed he was willing to help African countries if a successful vaccine was found.

He said: “China is committed to taking the lead in benefiting African countries after the research and development of the new crown vaccine is completed and put into use,”

Nkengasong expressed his reservations via video link at a meeting of African health care experts and leaders to how the continent could access vaccine trials.


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South African Health Minister Zweli Mkhize explained at the meeting the country had offered the route for African countries to take part.

Wits University in Johannesburg, alongside the University of Oxford and the Oxford Jenner Institute, are working together on the South African vaccine trial.

The initial plan is to issue 2,000 volunteers aged from 18 to 65 with a vaccine.

Mkhize said: “We are looking forward to the successful conclusion of this. We have identified about 10 institutions that have 30 scientists who are going to participate in different kinds of trials,

“Let’s make sure we do these trials with communities and not on communities because imposing can have negative sentiments. Communities should not be seen as subjects of a study,”

On Tuesday, Shabir Madhi, a professor of vaccinology at Wits University and director of the South Africa Medical Research Council’s Vaccines and Infectious Diseases Analytics Research Uni, suggested it was “a landmark moment for South Africa and Africa at this stage of the Covid-19 pandemic.”

He said: “As we enter winter in South Africa and pressure increases on public hospitals, now more than ever we need a vaccine to prevent infection by Covid-19,

“We began screening participants … last week and the first participants will be vaccinated this week.”

According to World Health Organisation director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Africa had been leading the world in fewest coronavirus cases until last week.

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