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.
Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), commonly known as drones, have been used for more than two decades to deliver medical supplies and food aid to disaster-hit areas – and new uses for these devices are constantly being found. Siyabonga Kamnqa looks at where and how drone technology is used in South Africa’s healthcare services.
25 heads of state, including South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa, have called for the creation of an international pandemic treaty to strengthen global capacity to predict and respond to pandemic threats. But what should we make of this development, given that existing treaties have often been ignored during the COVID-19 crisis and recent efforts toward a research and development treaty for health products have floundered, asks Catherine Tomlinson.
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.
Immunity to COVID-19 is much more interesting and much more complicated than simply something you do or do not have. Kathryn Cleary spoke to two experts about what we know about COVID-19 immunity and the implications of that for antibody testing and the development of vaccines.
Some studies have suggested there may be a link between people’s vitamin D levels and COVID-19 outcomes, but local experts say there is little evidence to support this. Kathryn Cleary reports.
This is the fourth issue of COVID-19 Report. We point you to the latest quality science on the pandemic. If you come across unfamiliar terms, there is a glossary at the bottom of the article.