Further afield: US pharmaceutical company Pfizer says it has begun a clinical trial to test an influenza vaccine designed with the same mRNA technology behind its successful Covid-19 shot. The idea is to improve on the current generation of flu vaccines that have an efficacy of 40-60% against a disease that can cause up to 650 000 deaths a year.
South Africa has recorded 578 new cases of covid-19, in the last 24 hours. This is a positivity rate of 3.8%.
The majority of new cases are from KwaZulu-Natal, followed by Gauteng and then the Western Cape. Another 164 people have died of related illnesses.
Officials say government scientific experts met with their UK counterparts yesterday to discuss the country’s ongoing presence on a list of nations banned due to Covid-19 risks, alongside a decision not to recognise coronavirus vaccines administered locally. The Department of Health says the outcomes will be considered as part of the next review of UK border measures over the next 2 weeks.
President Cyril Ramaphosa says the new vaccine initiative launched last week will be a game-changer in the fight against covid-19. The Nant-Africa initiative, spearheaded by Dr Patrick Soon-Shiong, will see the establishment of state-of-the-art cancer and covid-19 vaccine production facilities. It will also see the launch of the Centre for Epidemic Response and Innovation, which will enhance Africa’s rapid genomic surveillance of and response to viral mutations.