SA research shedding light on role of microclots in long COVID

SA research shedding light on role of microclots in long COVID

Professor Resia Pretorius and her colleagues at the University of Stellenbosch are at the cutting edge of research into one of the most likely causes of long COVID – inflammatory microclots. Adele Baleta spoke to Pretorius about their work.

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Spotlight on HIV: Six graphs that tell the story

Spotlight on HIV: Six graphs that tell the story

In 2021, HIV was successfully suppressed in the bodies of around 63% of the close to eight million people living with HIV in South Africa. This is according to recent outputs from Thembisa, the leading mathematical model of HIV in South Africa. With the help of some graphs, Spotlight editor Marcus Low unpacks this and other key model outputs.

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Analysis: Vaccine partnership with US government boosts prospects for local production

Analysis: Vaccine partnership with US government boosts prospects for local production

Earlier this month Cape Town-based vaccine company Afrigen announced a formal collaboration with the United States National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases’ (NIAID’s) Vaccine Research Centre. Catherine Tomlinson unpacks what this deal may mean for local production of vaccines for COVID-19 and other diseases.

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COVID-19: The role of next-generation vaccines in immunity

COVID-19: The role of next-generation vaccines in immunity

Indications are that the virus that causes COVID-19 is going to continue evolving and escaping the protection against infection people already have. Researchers are working on next-generation vaccines tailored to fight off specific versions of the virus, like the Omicron sub-lineages BA.4 and BA.5. But can these new vaccines be tested and produced fast enough to keep up with the rapidly changing virus? Aisha Abdool Karim asked some local experts.

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COVID-19: Reinfections amid ‘complex mix of immunity’

COVID-19: Reinfections amid ‘complex mix of immunity’

Omicron and its sub-variants have been dominating new surges of SARS-CoV-2 infections around the world and were behind South Africa’s fifth wave. The BA.4 and BA.5 sub-lineages unveiled yet more surprises about the evasive nature of these ever-emerging forms of SARS-CoV-2. They also hold clues for what to expect next and how to prepare. Aisha Abdool Karim reports.

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COVID-19 blamed for shortcomings of ‘ideal clinics’ in Free State  

COVID-19 blamed for shortcomings of ‘ideal clinics’ in Free State  

There are 83 clinics – down from 153 in 2018/19 – in the Free State with Ideal Clinic status, meaning they have adequate staff, infrastructure, and medicines, among others. For many primary health facilities, this accreditation status is crucial for the National Health Insurance, however, some of these ideal clinics still have various shortcomings. Refilwe Mochoari reports.  

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RSV: Virus that threatens infants again circulating in 2022

RSV: Virus that threatens infants again circulating in 2022

Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) is estimated to affect 64 million people and claim around 160 000 lives around the world every year. Infants are most vulnerable and there is no effective treatment or vaccine. Tiyese Jeranji asks what we know about RSV in South Africa.

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Unacceptably long wait for surgery in Free State, healthcare workers and patients say

Unacceptably long wait for surgery in Free State, healthcare workers and patients say

Surgical waiting lists are not unexpected in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, but there are indications that the situation is particularly acute in the Free State, and possibly for reasons that are not directly related to the pandemic. Also, the department of health failed to offer any explanation or details of current surgery waiting lists and waiting times reported by healthcare workers and patients. Refilwe Mochoari reports.

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COVID-19: What role for masks, sanitising, and ventilation in the new normal?

COVID-19: What role for masks, sanitising, and ventilation in the new normal?

South Africa’s fifth wave of COVID-19 infections was comparatively small and is already abating. As with the fourth wave, infection was much less likely to result in hospitalisation or death than in the first three waves. In light of these changes in the pandemic, Aisha Abdool Karim asks what the “new normal” should look like when it comes to mask-wearing, ventilation, hand sanitising, and other preventive measures.

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COVID-19: Death risk in SA differed depending on where people were hospitalised

COVID-19: Death risk in SA differed depending on where people were hospitalised

The risk of a hospitalised person dying from COVID-19 in the Eastern Cape was almost double the risk of someone dying of the disease in the Western Cape, according to a study published in the South African Journal of Science. Adele Baleta unpacks the study’s rich set of findings on hospitalisation and death in South Africa.

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INTERVIEW: “Guys, I think that’s a new variant” – de Oliveira reflects on two years chasing the virus

INTERVIEW: “Guys, I think that’s a new variant” – de Oliveira reflects on two years chasing the virus

South African bioinformatics expert Professor Tulio de Oliveira was recently honoured with Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people award. Biénne Huisman sat down with him to talk about his part in the discovery of new COVID-19 variants, his chats with the President, and the treasure trove of scientific research excellence in Africa.

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Opinion: What the law says about medical xenophobia in South Africa

Opinion: What the law says about medical xenophobia in South Africa

The South African Constitution says the most basic forms of healthcare should be made accessible to all who reside in the country but this is often not the lived experience of many foreign nationals. Kholofelo Mphahlele unpacks some of the realities foreign nationals face at public health facilities and what the law provides for protecting their rights.

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