Researchers are preparing to launch the South Africa leg of an international trial investigating whether the well-established measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) shot used in childhood immunisation programmes can protect front-line health-care workers from Sars-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, reports Business Day.
The trial is co-led by Wits University, Washington University and University College London, through the COVID-19 Research Outcomes Worldwide Network for Coronavirus Prevention (Crown Coronation) collaborative. It is funded by a $9m grant from the Covid-19 Tools ACT accelerator, a global collaboration backed by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, with a R1m contribution from the SA Medical Research Council for the local aspect of the study.
The report says the trial aims to recruit 30,000 health-care workers in the US, UK, Canada, Ireland, Netherlands, Ghana, Uganda, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Health-care workers face continued exposure to COVID-19 even in regions where the epidemic is declining, such as South Africa.
“COVID-19 has not gone away. We are waiting to see if there will be a second wave,” co-principal investigator Sinead Delany-Moretlwe, research director at the Wits Reproductive Health and HIV Institute is quoted in Business Day as saying.
Full Business Day report