In-depth: Landmark moment as AI beats humans in reading X-rays for TB

In-depth: Landmark moment as AI beats humans in reading X-rays for TB

“The results are in: artificial intelligence (AI) outperforms humans at reading chest X-rays for signs of tuberculosis,” proclaimed a recent newsletter of the Stop TB Partnership. Tiyese Jeranji spoke to a variety of experts about the landmark study behind this proclamation and asked what AI-aided X-ray interpretation may mean for countries like South Africa with high TB burdens.

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COVID-19: How to respond to vaccine hesitancy

COVID-19: How to respond to vaccine hesitancy

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.

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COVID-19: Is SA vaccinating enough older persons to protect against possible fourth wave?

COVID-19: Is SA vaccinating enough older persons to protect against possible fourth wave?

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.

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We need to vaccinate 90% of over-35s – Madhi

We need to vaccinate 90% of over-35s – Madhi

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.

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Alcohol bans had greater impact than curfews, study finds

Alcohol bans had greater impact than curfews, study finds

New research published in the South African Medical Journal has found compelling evidence that a blanket ban on alcohol reduces the number of unnatural deaths related to trauma injuries while curfews have less of an impact. Adele Baleta spoke to lead author, Professor Tom Moultrie.

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Trial of potentially variant-proof vaccine ongoing in Western Cape

Trial of potentially variant-proof vaccine ongoing in Western Cape

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.

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Behind the scenes: How the first 500 000 vaccine doses administered in SA were secured

Behind the scenes: How the first 500 000 vaccine doses administered in SA were secured

When South Africa’s rollout of the AstraZeneca vaccine was put on hold in early February, a scramble ensued to ensure healthcare workers could be protected. Chris Bateman spoke to Professor Glenda Gray about the behind-the-scenes negotiations that helped secure 500 000 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine – almost all of which have now been used in the Sisonke study.

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COVID-19: Is the Free State ready for a third wave?

COVID-19: Is the Free State ready for a third wave?

COVID-19 numbers have in recent weeks been rising in the Free State, leading some to fear that the province might be at the beginning of a third wave of infections. Refilwe Mochoari asked the Department of Health, unions, and opposition political parties whether the province is ready for a third wave.

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COVID-19: Wastewater surveillance could help spot third wave

COVID-19: Wastewater surveillance could help spot third wave

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.

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Childhood immunisation catch-up drive kicking off on 1 November

Childhood immunisation catch-up drive kicking off on 1 November

South Africa’s childhood immunisation rates declined in 2020 compared to previous years, largely due to COVID-19 and the related lockdown. Elri Voigt asked government about the country’s catch-up plans.

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Opinion: Release of SA’s first National TB Prevalence Survey should not be delayed any longer

Opinion: Release of SA’s first National TB Prevalence Survey should not be delayed any longer

Even though it has been ready for months, findings of a critically important tuberculosis survey have not been made public. Every day that passes, the more outdated the findings become, and accordingly the less useful.

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COVID-19: What we know about SA’s 33 000 excess deaths so far

COVID-19: What we know about SA’s 33 000 excess deaths so far

Between the beginning of May and the first week of August, there have been over 33 000 excess deaths in South Africa. This is over three times the number of confirmed COVID-19 deaths. Kathryn Cleary asked the experts what we do and do not know about what so many people are dying of.

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