Coronavirus: Researchers battle disease myths in South Africa


In South Africa, three of the most promising vaccines are being tested in cities throughout the country, with 2,000 participants trialling an inoculation developed by Oxford University's Jenner Institute.

Mounting his own worldwide marketing campaign, the University of Witswaterand professor has personally convinced vaccine developers to undertake clinical trials in South Africa and secured millions of pounds in funding to make the enterprise happen.

Professor Madhi invokes the memory of infections like swine flu when making the case for vaccine trials in Africa. Little research was conducted on this respiratory disease when it emerged in 2009 and by the time a usable vaccine was produced in Africa the pandemic was effectively over.

"It would be a crime against humanity, a crime against the people of Africa if the mechanism was not put into place to introduce vaccines during the time of pandemic and not after it has passed - especially if we can show that the vaccines actually work."

Deep levels of scepticism and mistrust aimed at COVID-19 vaccine development are not unique to South Africa.

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