For next pandemic we need vaccines in 100 days, says expert

For next pandemic we need vaccines in 100 days, says expert

Developing COVID-19 vaccines in less than a year came from repurposing multiple, decade-old vaccine research platforms, but too many lives were lost, and a new goal of developing vaccines in 100 days is needed to counter the next global pathogen, experts say.

Read More

Analysis: How do you price a life-saving vaccine during a pandemic?

Analysis: How do you price a life-saving vaccine during a pandemic?

In late January, Dr Anban Pillay, Deputy Director-General in South Africa’s National Department of Health, revealed that South Africa would pay more than double the price paid by the European Union (EU) for AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine. This set off a flurry of questions on how vaccine prices are set and why, in many cases, the prices themselves are not known to the public. Catherine Tomlinson takes a closer look at the issues involved.

Read More

Teamwork and infrastructure behind local malaria discovery, researchers say

Teamwork and infrastructure behind local malaria discovery, researchers say

Local scientists, as part of an international research collaboration, identified chemical compounds with antitubercular and anti-cancer properties that could potentially help in the fight against malaria. The compounds could halt a malaria parasite in its tracks during different stages of the parasite’s life cycle. Kathryn Cleary interviewed two of the researchers about the scientific discovery and the teamwork and infrastructure that made it possible.

Read More

COVID-19: What local vaccine production actually means

COVID-19: What local vaccine production actually means

South Africa is set to produce its first vaccine in 25 years, but it won’t be a COVID-19 jab. Plans are however in place to “fill and finish” COVID-19 vaccines in South Africa. Laura Lopez Gonzalez has the details.

Read More

COVID-19: How vaccine registration will work in SA

COVID-19: How vaccine registration will work in SA

Before any COVID-19 vaccines can be made available in South Africa, they must be authorised by South Africa’s medicines regulator—the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA). Catherine Tomlinson explores how SAHPRA is preparing to review and authorise the use of COVID-19 vaccines in the country and the different authorisation approaches they may use.

Read More

IN-DEPTH: The slow motion race for a TB vaccine

IN-DEPTH: The slow motion race for a TB vaccine

In recent months, the world has seen unprecedented investment in new vaccines. Yet, while a COVID-19 vaccine proven to be safe and effective may be less than a year away, a new tuberculosis vaccine might only be ready to be rolled out in a decade, despite a massive head start over COVID-19. Amy Green takes a closer look at the race for a new vaccine for the world’s top infectious disease killer.

Read More

1.3m switched to new ARV, but weight gain is a concern

1.3m switched to new ARV, but weight gain is a concern

Two years after it was announced that the ARV dolutegravir would become part of standard first line HIV treatment in South Africa, it is finally reaching significant numbers of people. But new research about a worrying side-effect, weight gain (particularly in women), has muddied its otherwise stellar reputation.

Read More

COVID-19 Report: Understanding the most important science of the past week

COVID-19 Report: Understanding the most important science of the past week

Many journalists, including us, are finding the quantity of science reports on COVID-19 overwhelming. We introduce a new occasional column to help make sense of the information overload. The aim of this occasional column, which we’re calling COVID-19 Report, will be to alert reporters in South Africa (and anyone else who is interested) to the best and most important science, and also clear up misconceptions. 

Read More