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First COVID-19 Vaccine Trial In Africa To Include HIV Patients

A vaccine volunteer receives an injection at the Chris Hani Baragwanath hospital in Soweto, Johannesburg Wednesday, June 24, 2020. Africa’s first participation in a COVID-19 vaccine trial has begun as volunteers received injections developed at the University of Oxford in Britain. /AP

South Africa will begin a coronavirus vaccine trial on Wednesday, the first such test on the continent, with its 2,000 volunteers planned to include some living with HIV.

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The trial will begin at three sites in the country’s most populated province, Gauteng, and include 50 volunteers who have HIV, said study leader Shabir Madhi, a professor of vaccinology at the University of the Witwatersrand, in a briefing with reporters.

The vaccine, developed by the University of Oxford in partnership with AstraZeneca Plc, is already undergoing human tests in the U.K. with separate studies slated to begin in Brazil and the U.S.

Along with one of the fastest-growing coronavirus epidemics, South Africa has the world’s largest HIV-infected population with about 7 million patients.

HIV attacks the human immune system, and the test will help ensure that the country has access to shots that will be safe and appropriate for South Africans, said Helen Rees, chair of the Health Products Regulatory Authority.

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Written by PH

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