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South Africa sets up coronavirus vaccine expert group

Image: Governor Tom Wolf [CC BY 2.0], via Flickr

Committee will advise government on Covid-19 vaccine

The South African government has created a ministerial advisory committee to guide it on coronavirus vaccine development. 

The chairman will be Barry Schoub, a virologist at the University of the Witwatersrand and founding executive director of the National Institute for Communicable Diseases in Johannesburg.

It will advise the government “on all matters pertaining to the coronavirus vaccine development and rollout”, from monitoring and reporting on the progress of clinical trials to advising on purchasing options and future manufacturing capability, the Department of Health said on 14 September.  

“This will ensure that the Department of Health and government are kept abreast on all critical developments internationally relating to the vaccine.”

The committee will work alongside the existing ministerial advisory committee that guides the government on Covid-19. That committee, chaired by HIV/Aids expert Salim Abdool Karim, will also have its membership broadened to “take into account the need for the inclusion of social and behavioural scientists,” the Department of Health said. 

Abdool Karim will be an observer member on the new committee, whose full membership is:

MInisterial Advisory Committee on vaccine development

Barry Schoub, emeritus virologist at the University of the Witwatersrand

Morena Makhoana, chief executive officer of Biovac

Glaudina Loots, Department of Science and Technology

Boitumelo Semete-Makokotlela, chief executive officer of South African Health Products Authority

Greg Hussey, Vaccines for Africa (University of Cape Town)

Jeff Mphahlele, immunologist and board member of the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority

Helen Rees, expert advisor to the World Health Organization

Ames Dhai, ethicist

Mark Blecher, National Treasury chief director for health and social development