The World Health Organisation (WHO) on Thursday urged countries to start building and boosting their public health system, especially in investing in local capacities for the production of vaccines in the event that a vaccine becomes available.
Also, results of the COVID-19 vaccine trials being carried out by the University of Oxford in South Africa is expected by December.
Should the vaccine prove effective in shielding against the virus, there will be huge demand for its mass production.
Preliminary trials on non-human primate (monkeys) show that the vaccine reduced the severity of the disease in vaccinated monkeys.
Although this cannot be extrapolated to mean its efficacy in humans, the trial is, however, still ongoing for humans.
The Principal Investigator of Oxford COVID-19 Vaccine Trial in South Africa, Prof. Shabir Madhi of Wits University, made this known yesterday during an online news briefing on COVID-19 and vaccine development in Africa, organised by the WHO.
He said: “It was South Africans that approached the University of Oxford to find out if they will be willing to include South Africa as part of the clinical development plan.
“Funding of the study is not coming from the University of Oxford, but from the South Africa Research Council supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
“The trial involves 2,000 people over a period of four to six weeks. The plan is to follow them up to about 12 months. But the timing about when we will get results about whether the vaccine potentially works is probably going to be sooner.”