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National System of Innovation Work on Curbing COVID-19 Outlined

April 23, 2020

Department of Science and Innovation

Continued science and innovation support beyond the nationwide lockdown and COVID-19 includes support for local manufacturing of vaccines, PPEs, ventilators, diagnostics and reagents.

The science and innovation department announced this during a briefing on the National System of Innovation’s (NSI) work towards curbing COVID-19.

A virtual meeting in parliament on work undertaken by department entities to combat the COVID-19 pandemic was held this week.

Other support includes coordination of effort around data generation, analyses and decision support; uptake by government of local solutions and improved engagements with provincial and local government.

Research prioritized includes development of tools to rapidly diagnose COVID-19; targeted surveillance and modelling; therapeutic trials for treatment and prophylaxis of health care workers or highly exposed individuals; re-purposing of drugs for treatment of mild cases; monoclonal antibodies, immunoglobulins and molecular epidemiology and research and development for candidate vaccines.

According to the department, repurposed labs are now ready to carry out testing including the Centre for Proteomic and Genomic Research and Council for Scientific and Industrial Research labs.

High resolution satellite imagery and data on spaza shops, human settlements, open spaces, informal settlements and housing development is also being generated.