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The University of Oxford has deployed Wednesday the first human trials in Africa for a potential vaccine against the new coronavirus in South Africa, while the cases continue to increase and concerns grow about the potential access to life-saving interventions.Brazilian researchers have begun to administer the same experimental vaccine against the coronavirus of the volunteers, announced on Wednesday that the federal University of Sao Paulo. Brazil was chosen because it is one of the countries where the virus is spreading most rapidly. It has the second largest number of cases and deaths in the world after the United States, with more than 1.1 million people infected and 52 000 killed to this day.

A medical worker speaks with volunteers while they are waiting to receive an injection during the first human clinical trial in the country for a potential vaccine against the new coronavirus, in Soweto, Johannesburg, South Africa. Photograph: Siphiwe Sibeko / Reuters

The vaccine, developed in collaboration with the pharmaceutical group AstraZeneca, is one of dozens of the most promising researchers around the world are trying to test and market.

The trial in south africa, conducted with a local partner, the University of the Witwatersrand, will include 2,000 volunteers aged 18 to 65 years old, some hiv-positive patients, who will be followed for 12 months after vaccination to assess the extent to which the vaccine protects against Covid19.

The hope is that the participation of South Africa in the vaccine trials will ensure that the continent will have access to an affordable vaccine and will not stay behind.

South Africa is the second country outside the United Kingdom to participate in the trial of Oxford after Brazil launched its study on Wednesday.

The vaccine ChAdOx1 nCoV-19, also known under the name AZD1222, was originally developed by scientists from the University of Oxford, who are now working with AstraZeneca on the development and production.

There are over 4 000 registered participants in the United Kingdom, and the listing of 10 000 other participants is expected, said the university in a press release Wednesday.

A larger study of the same vaccine out of a maximum of 30 000 participants is planned in the United States.


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