Shabir Madhi, director of the South African Medical Research Council’s vaccine unit, says more than one million South Africans may already be infected with the new coronavirus disease Covid-19.
He gave two reasons for his opinion on a webinar on Wednesday morning.
“There are ten times more cases than South Africa’s confirmed cases indicate. This is because one in two people infected with the virus is asymptomatic, and because South Africa’s rate of testing is not very high, ”says Madhi.
The test rate is determined by the number of tests done in relation to the country’s population figure.
Madhi also announced that the first eight volunteers will receive the vaccine ChAdOx1 NcOV-19 on Wednesday as part of the vaccine clinical trials.
This comes after the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) announced on Tuesday that it will begin clinical trials of the possible vaccine against Covid-19 in South Africa.
Wits will work in close collaboration with the University of Oxford in England during the clinical trials of the vaccine.
2 000 South African volunteers will take part in the tests.