South Africa becomes first African country to begin COVID-19 vaccine trial

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South Africa will today, Wednesday, June 24, 2020 begin human trials of a vaccine against COVID-19.

The vaccine, developed by the Oxford University in the United kingdom will be tested on some 2,000 people, aged 18-35, state broadcaster, SABC has reported.

A group of 50 people are expected to have the drug administered to them on Wednesday by personnel from the Medical Research Council and Wits University.

The trial will begin with a group of HIV negative people who will receive ,two doses of the drug over the course of four weeks.

According to Executive Director of the Wits Reproductive Health and HIV Institute, Helen Rees, the vaccine, when found, needs to be made available to all citizens of the world but conceded that there might and will have to be prioritization in the vaccine’s distribution at the initial stages.

“Obviously the richer countries and richer areas are trying to say ‘my country first and all of my citizens’ first. There is a very, very important global dialogue going on about vaccine access,” she told SABC News.

According to the BBC, South Africa has been chosen for this trial not just for its expertise in this field, but because Covid-19 is now spreading fast here. The country leads COVID-19 infections in Africa with some 101,590 cases as of Tuesday, June 23, 2020.

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