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Medical Research Council Briefs NCOP on Covid-19 Research

November 12, 2021

Department of Health

The Medical Research Council (SAMRC) has briefed the national council of provinces on recent findings on Covid-19 related research.

The SAMRC is tasked with improving the health and quality of life of South Africans by means of research, development and technology transfer.

The briefing focused on research and innovation in a time of Covid-19; overview of the SAMRC wastewater surveillance & research programme and an update on the ad26 Covid-19 vaccine and the Sisonke programme.

The Sisonke study is designed to assess the effectiveness of Ad26.COV2. S vaccine on severe Covid-19, hospitalizations and deaths in health care workers as compared with unvaccinated health care workers and other essential worker populations in South Africa; evaluate the impact of variants of concern on vaccine effectiveness and evaluate safety in the field.

Regarding wastewater, the SAMRC pointed out that, since the advent of Covid-19, increasing numbers of countries and institutions around the world are monitoring wastewater as an early warning system for Covid-19.

The SAMRC declared that the Ad26 JNJ vaccine works well in South Africa.

Meanwhile, the health department has announced that the health minister, Dr Joe Phaahla, will launch the Vooma Vax Champs on 12 November 2021.

Run by the department and partners, Vax Champs mobilises people throughout South Africa to vaccinate and save lives.