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.
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.
The shortcomings of healthcare services in the rural Eastern Cape is well documented. Now, with provinces gearing up for the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, Luvuyo Mehlwana asked local health activists and government leaders about the rollout plan for rural communities in the province.
While local experts generally welcome the order in which vaccines will be provided to different categories of people in South Africa, they are concerned that some practical nuances are unclear. Elna Schütz reports.
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.
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.
The delivery of a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine once it becomes available in South Africa will be a complex and costly logistical exercise. Acquiring enough injection devices is part of crucial logistical planning to ensure rapid, equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines. Adele Baleta reports.
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.
The South African Health Products Regulatory Authority has approved its first COVID-19 antibody test amid criticism that it is too slow and too cautious in approving applications for the registration of such tests.
National immunisation rates for children under five years have dropped dramatically over the period of South Africa’s COVID-19 lockdown, sparking fears of an outbreak of deadly childhood infectious diseases including measles. Adele Baleta reports.