COVID-19 vaccine trial in South Africa includes HIV patients

A coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine trial, which includes people living with HIV, will begin in South Africa tomorrow, June 24.

An engineer works at the Quality Control Laboratory on an experimental vaccine for the COVID-19 coronavirus at the Sinovac Biotech facilities in Beijing.
(Photo: Nicolas Asfouri / AFP)

The vaccine is being developed by the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca Plc and will see some 2,000 volunteers participating.

The trial is the first on the continent but is already undergoing human tests in the United Kingdom with studies also set for the United States and Brazil.

Head of South Africa’s Health Products Regulatory Authority, Helen Rees, said vaccine trials are necessary across the world, in all populations to be effective, adding that participation in trials smooths the way to access.

South Africa has more than 100,000 coronavirus cases with deaths approaching 2,000. The nation also has seven million people living with HIV, a virus which affects the immune system.

COVID-19 infections have topped nine million worldwide, with more than 470,000 reported dead.