Biopharmaceuticals are therapeutic drugs, vaccines, and diagnostics in which the active ingredient is produced in a living substance such as eggs or tobacco plants. The living substance acts as a ‘miniature factory’ in which the active ingredient is grown and replicated. Catherine Tomlinson takes a deep dive into the fascinating research and other initiatives in South Africa aimed at spurring local production of these products – and asks why a Cape Town-based company opted to set up a manufacturing plant in Mauritius rather than at home.
Local researchers have welcomed impressive phase III findings for the Russian-made Sputnik V vaccine published this week in the Lancet medical journal. It is the sixth COVID-19 vaccine found to be effective in preliminary data from a phase III randomised controlled trial and the fourth to have phase III findings published in a leading medical journal.
While progress in the race for effective COVID-19 vaccines has been rapid and impressive, an effective HIV vaccine remains elusive. As part of Spotlight’s World AIDS Day 2020 coverage, Kathryn Cleary asks two of South Africa’s top vaccine researchers to update us on where we are in the race for an HIV vaccine.
The head of the South African arm of a key COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial is “full of pride” for the teams’ part in the research which has shown the vaccine candidate to be more than 90% effective according to early findings released this week. It however remains unclear whether the vaccine will be available in South Africa once registered. Adele Baleta reports.