Wits-tested Oxford vaccine best suited for developing countries: Nzimande

Wits-tested Oxford vaccine best suited for developing countries: Nzimande

Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation, Dr Blade Nzimande, says the Wits-tested Oxford vaccine has been taunted as the most suitable for developing countries.

Nzimande made these utterances during a media briefing on the state of readiness for the 2021 academic year at the country’s institutions of higher education on Monday.

Trials on the vaccine began in June with volunteers enrolled at five sites in Hillbrow, Soweto and Pretoria, in Gauteng, as well as two in the Western Cape.

The Wits Executive Director of the Vaccines and Infectious Diseases Analytics Research Unit, Professor Shabir Madhi, led the trials. 

The ChAdOx1-Cov19 vaccine is one of only five vaccines approved globally.

In December, its phase 3 human trial results were peer-reviewed and published in a scientific journal.

Nzimande says while it is not as effective as the Pfizer vaccine, it is cost effective and comparatively easy to transport, store and distribute.

“This vaccine is currently being considered for approval by the European Medicines Agency. Approval has been granted by the regulatory authorities in the UK, India, Mexico, Bangladesh and Argentina,” the Minister says.

His remarks come as the country gears up to receive its first batch of COVID-19 vaccine doses from India amid a fierce battle to slow the spread of the pandemic.

More than 1.2 million South Africans have contracted the virus and 37 449 others have succumbed to it. – Report by Voice of Wits reporter and newsreader, Yonaka Theledi.