The new and more contagious Delta variant has now surpassed the Beta variant to become the dominant SARS-CoV-2 variant in South Africa. Laura Lopez Gonzalez pulled together answers to eight common questions asked about this new variant.
The two vaccines used in South Africa’s vaccination programme, those from Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer/BioNTech, have both been shown to be highly effective against COVID-19, particularly in preventing hospitalisation and death. But protection may wane over time and new variants may or may not render these vaccines less effective. Adele Baleta unpacks what we do and do not know about the potential need for booster shots and surveys some of the studies that will help fill the gaps.
Ventilation plays an important role in preventing the transmission of airborne diseases but currently, ventilation standards for buildings are focused on preventing odours in spaces, instead of preventing disease transmission. Elri Voigt spoke to two experts about the role of ventilation in the transmission of airborne diseases such as tuberculosis and COVID-19 and what can be done to improve ventilation in buildings.
An experimental COVID-19 vaccine currently in Phase I trials being run by the University of Cape Town has a unique design that might allow it to offer better protection against current and future variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Elri Voigt provides an update on the trial and unpacks the science behind this vaccine candidate.
Wastewater surveillance has become an important part of South Africa’s COVID-19 monitoring systems and might even help to give early warning of a potential third wave of infections. Tiyese Jeranji looks at what is involved.
Like with SARS-CoV2, we need to rapidly implement and scale-up effective tuberculosis (TB) prevention interventions, while remaining adaptive to prevailing needs across the country. If we choose to pursue this more deliberate approach to TB prevention in South Africa, World TB Day will no longer be an admission of insufficient progress, but a celebration of defeating our long-standing battle with this curable disease, writes Dr Kavindhran Velen and Professor Salome Charalambous.
Reproductive health experts say South Africa recorded a 30% increase in maternal deaths during lockdown compared to the same period in 2019. Suicide, a previously unrecognised cause of maternal mortality in the country, also increased and some experts believe the stressors of the COVID-19 pandemic played a role. Tiyese Jeranji reports.
Gift of the Givers founder Dr Imtiaz Sooliman has declined social media calls that he be nominated for the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize. Bienne Huisman spoke to Sooliman about the organisation’s work during the pandemic, his background, and what keeps him going.
It has been over a year since the world saw the first confirmed case of COVID-19, yet the science behind the virus’ physical impact on children remains relatively unclear. Kathryn Cleary spoke to two experts in paediatrics and immunology to get an update on what we have learnt so far.
South Africa has struggled to secure adequate stock of urgently needed COVID-19 vaccines. This has raised questions about the state of the country’s local vaccine manufacturing capacity and why, after almost two decades of government support, South Africa’s partially state-owned vaccine manufacturer Biovac is not better positioned to respond to the pandemic. Catherine Tomlinson investigates.