Zambia will take part in COVID-19 Vaccine trials. This was confirmed by the director of Infectious Diseases Professor Lloyd Mulenga at the COVID-19 daily briefing on Thursday. The readiness for the vaccine clinical trials is informed by the capacity to monitor the safety and efficacy of any vaccine, the availability of medical institutions and the required number of volunteers to take part.
“For vaccine trials, we are ready, we have institutions in the country which can enroll both in the public sector,” said Mulenga.
The clinical trial for the vaccine is currently at level three.
“When you talk of the phase three you are talking of thousands, we are not shy of those numbers and also we have enough capacity to monitor the safety of these vaccines besides the efficacy,” added Mulenga.
The Director of Infectious Diseases further encouraged Zambians to embrace the trial process upon the success and approval of the drug by World Health Organisation as there is hope that they will be immune to COVID-19
“I think it’s important for the country to look at all these as opportunities, if there is a vaccine which meets the safety standards and also opportunities for the countries to participate, it’s good for us to know if our populations are going to be protected by this vaccine as well,” noted Mulenga.
So far no COVID-19 vaccine has been approved by the World Health Organisation.
The Minister of Health Chitalu Chilufya noted that, as of Thursday 162 new cases had been recorded out of 1017 tests conducted bringing the cumulative number of cases to 8663 countrywide.
Despite hope that has been brought by the drug on trial, citizens are urged to practice precautionary measures tabled by the World Health Organization.
“We have been talking about interventions that we need to conduct and these interventions have been masking up, watching the distance, watching crowding places, staying home and washing your hands and ensuring that you seek medical attention early if you are symptomatic,” said Mulenga.
The first clinical trial in Africa for a COVID-19 vaccine started in the month of June in South Africa, run by the University of the Witwatersrand.
The South African VIDA-Trial is testing the ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 vaccine that was developed at Oxford University’s Jenner Institute, which is also undergoing trials in the UK and Brazil.
The phase three clinical trial involves 2,000 volunteers aged 18-65 years’ old.
Meanwhile Russia recently started its phase three clinical trial while industrial production of the covi-19 vaccine is expected to start from September. Currently 20 countries had pre-ordered more than a billion doses when Russia’s President announced that his daughter had a temperature of 38 degrees Celsius on the day of the first vaccine injection, and then it dropped to just over 37 degrees on the following day. After the second shot she again had a slight increase in temperature, but then it was all over.
Liberty Pazvakawambwa SADC NEWS Correspondent