SA scientists’ vital role on pandemic’s frontline

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SA scientists’ vital role on pandemic’s frontline

Without the work done in our labs, the world would not have come nearly so far in its fight against Covid-19

Joseph Cotterill and David Pilling

SA’s pause of its rollout of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine in response to concern about a local coronavirus variant sparked global debate — and shone a spotlight on how the country’s science has become vital to understanding where the pandemic may go next.

SA’s government last week delayed the rollout after an initial finding that AstraZeneca’s vaccine failed to protect against milder Covid-19 infections involving the 501.V2 variant. It will now use Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine to start inoculations instead.

The SA suspension was based on a relatively small local trial of the AstraZeneca vaccine that did not examine effects on severe disease or death...

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