South Africa at the start of a Covid-19 vaccine the world has never seen - The World Health Organisation has enlisted a team of South African researchers to produce a new mRNA Covid-19 vaccine, but with no recipe to follow, it’s not an easy task
The World Health Organisation has enlisted a team of South African researchers to produce a new mRNA Covid-19 vaccine, but with no recipe to follow, it’s not an easy task
. In 2010, children in countries such as Morocco and Algeria missed out on life-saving meningitis vaccines amid a global shortage.At the time, a leading vaccine manufacturer was obliged to supply the United States and rich countries with doses first, recalls Mehdi Zaghloul, executive director of Morocco’s Sothema pharmaceutical company.
of vaccines used in Africa are produced locally.Zaghloul continues: “As Africa, we need to ensure a minimum level of autonomy over our vaccine supply.”Now Africa could be set to turn the page on history — and the first chapter is being written, in part, in Arbuthnot’s lab.
The WHO’s crack team of South African scientistsIn June, theWorld Health Organisation(WHO) enlisted a team of South African researchers to crack the code for an mRNA Covid-19 vaccine and then teach others around the world to make it. South Africa will be the first of what the WHO envisions as several mRNA hubs, allowing more and more countries to produce the jabs locally. headtopics.com
Covid-19 vaccine manufacturers Pfizer and Moderna have refused to share theirvaccine recipeswith the WHO or partners. South African scientists are now piecing together what we know about the vaccines publicly — in part from patent applications — to develop an mRNA vaccine of their own that will be similar to Moderna’s.
They hope to produce a prototype for testing in the next year that is adapted to new variants and that, unlike current brands, does not need the ultra-cold storage that poses problems for developing countries without sophisticated refrigeration systems.
How do mRNA vaccines work?Historically, vaccines have worked by using harmless versions of a germ — or proteins designed to look like a virus — to trick the body into churning out antibodies to fend off future illness.Messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) vaccines are different, explains Kristie Bloom, Antiviral Gene Therapy Research Unit team leader for next-generation vaccines.
“Think of a cell inside your body as a little 3-D printer,” she says. “Messenger RNA is like a code that you send to that 3-D printer to get the cell to print — or produce — proteins.”In the case of mRNA vaccines, this code teaches cells how to produce the proteins needed to mount a defence against SARS-CoV-2. This response snowballs, growing bigger and triggering different responses by your immune system. headtopics.com
Once the mRNA printing code has served its purpose, it simply disappears, Bloom says. Our cells — or printers — stop marking copies of the proteins. Still, the process leaves your immune system with a memory of how to fight the virus.Cracking the code: Scientists are closer than you think
But mRNA’s disappearing act, known as instability, is also what makes vaccines like these tricky, says Arbuthnot.Seated at a large round table, he is surrounded by stacks of papers, simple microscopes and, after almost a decade working on mRNA, piles of his black and red notebooks. His lab is the only one in Africa with a history of mRNA research, which is why the quest for an African Covid-19 vaccine begins here.
Naked mRNA degrades quickly. If mRNA in a vaccine disappears too soon, it won’t stick around long enough in the body to make the proteins needed to spark an immune response.To stop this and help mRNA deliver its cellular printing code, vaccines like Moderna’s clothe mRNA in a protective layer of fats, or lipids.
“We know what lipids they put in, but the ratio is also very important,” Arbuthnot says. “We have a rough idea, but we don’t know what it is exactly and that’s not even available in their patents.”Arbuthnot’s team is still figuring this out. Still, he believes they have already developed the mRNA sequence itself that will form the basis of their mRNA vaccine. headtopics.com
The end result won’t be a copy of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine but a totally new mRNA vaccine, he says.Do patents pose a threat?Read more: Mail & Guardian »
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The matric class of 2021 are eagerly awaiting their results which are to be announced by Education Minister, Angie Motshekga.
As long as it has chocolate its a good recipe.
EU moves to halt air travel from Southern Africa over new Covid-19 variantThe European Union aims to halt air travel from the Southern African region amid rising concern about a new Covid-19 variant detected in SA, EU Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen said on Friday.
EU moves to halt air travel from Southern Africa over new Covid-19 variantThe European Union aims to halt air travel from the Southern African region amid rising concern about a new Covid-19 variant detected in SA, EU Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen said on Friday. My daughter and I slept hungry last night. I didn't want that to happen again today💔. Please just help us with mealie meal just so that my daughter can eat. We'll eat it with sugar water🙏. For my 4 year old
COVID-19 in SA | South Africans anxious about 4th waveSouth Africans are anxious as COVID-19 infections have spiked this past week. The new COVID-19 variant is not making things any easier. eNCA's Lindokuhle Xulu is on the ground to speak to events managers and various industry players, he joined Heidi Giokos for more. Lol who are those 😂 We know nothing about what is written here.
US praises South Africa's detection of new COVID-19 strainThe United States praised South Africa for quickly identifying the new strain called Omicron and sharing this information with the world. Niyadakwa 😂😂😂 But the cape town mayor believe this news should have been withheld because of tourism.
South Africa says UK red list travel decision on new Covid variant is premature - The Mail & GuardianSouth Africa says UK red list travel decision on new Covid variant is premature: The department of international relations and cooperation says the travel ban on Southern African countries seems to be rushed Please take note sajidjavid! You are causing utter chaos in the lives of thousands of people!! Duh. Well yesterday they rushed a media convference and thought they are hero’s. Thats what you get when you in-still uncertainty and fear.
COVID-19 UPDATE: UK’s ‘knee-jerk’ Red List temporary ban throws South African travellers, tourism industry and airlines into a muddleThe UK’s decision to implement a flight ban that was announced before the World Health Organization convened on Friday, has South African travellers on tenterhooks. Meanwhile, President Cyril Ramaphosa is set to convene the National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC) on Sunday to assess Covid-19 developments. Don’t blame the UK only. What about the idiots who called a press conference to brag about a new variant… Rich coming from the country that has exported the virus from the beginning. 😒 Up yours ukinsouthafrica