Technical work on the discovery of new medicines is not commonly done in South Africa, or Africa, for that matter. One person who is at the forefront of changing this, is Kelly Chibale, a professor in organic chemistry and founder of the pioneering Holistic Drug Discovery and Development Centre – H3D – at the University of Cape Town. Biénne Huisman spoke to Chibale about his fascinating work and his journey from a village in Zambia, across the world, and back to Cape Town.
The first vaccine to prevent severe lung infections, including pneumonia, in infants will save thousands of lives and reduce the burden on health systems of low- to middle-income countries, researchers say. Adele Baleta reports.
COVID-19 vaccine doses destined to be binned next month are “a shocking indictment” and questions need to be asked about just how effective the country’s vaccination drive has been, some public health experts say. Ufrieda Ho reports.
The benefits of approved COVID-19 vaccines still far outweigh the risks, experts say following a recently reported death in South Africa linked to Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine. Adele Baleta reports.
Unlike regulators in the United States and Europe, the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority has not yet given the green light for any form of mix-and-match COVID-19 vaccine boosting. We take a look at the regulatory issues standing in the way of people in South Africa who received the Johnson & Johnson jab being offered Pfizer boosters.
Pharmaceutical companies Merck and Pfizer recently announced early results from clinical trials showing that two new antiviral medicines are highly effective in reducing COVID-19 deaths and hospitalisation. The Medicines Patent Pool then announced licensing deals with both companies that will allow for generic versions of the two drugs to be produced. Catherine Tomlinson unpacks the licenses and asks whether generic versions of these pills might now be made in Africa.
The North West has passed the one million mark for COVID-19 jabs administered. Nthusang Lefafa unpacks the vaccination numbers, reasons for the province having some of the lowest vaccination numbers in the country, and how it is working to catch up.
Initially hamstrung by low and uncertain supplies of COVID-19 vaccines, government is arguably now in a better position to campaign actively to accelerate vaccine demand, albeit in the midst of an often-harmful viral “infodemic”. Chris Bateman asks what can be done to boost demand for the jab.
Just 54% of people in South Africa over the age of 50 have received at least one COVID-19 jab, with significant variation between provinces, as experts warn of the possibility of another wave of COVID-19 in future. Chris Bateman reports.
Government can avoid the overwhelming of health services and minimise death in an anticipated fourth COVID-19 wave in November/December by getting 90% of people in South Africa over 35 years old vaccinated before then. Life could then return to normal by Christmas, even with ongoing SARS-CoV-2 circulation, contends vaccinologist Professor Shabir Madhi.
Messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines, such as the COVID-19 vaccines made by Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech, have been hailed for their manufacturing advantages over conventional vaccines – so much so that African leaders such as President Cyril Ramaphosa has called for mRNA production capacity to be developed in Africa. Catherine Tomlinson examines why mRNA vaccines are easier to make than some other types of vaccines and asks what it will take to build such production capacity.