6 episodes

COVID 19 Conversations - The Podcast Series brought to you by the African Alliance and the Vaccine Advocacy Resource Group, seeks to provide a platform for researchers, advocates, and thought leaders to engage in thought-provoking conversations on COVID-19, science, and a wide range of other related issues that will be of interest to a diverse audience. The podcast aims to ask good questions, provide accurate information, make connections between different regions of the world, and highlight how interconnected we are in terms of our challenges and solutions.

COVID-19 Conversations : The Podcast Series African Alliance

    • Science

COVID 19 Conversations - The Podcast Series brought to you by the African Alliance and the Vaccine Advocacy Resource Group, seeks to provide a platform for researchers, advocates, and thought leaders to engage in thought-provoking conversations on COVID-19, science, and a wide range of other related issues that will be of interest to a diverse audience. The podcast aims to ask good questions, provide accurate information, make connections between different regions of the world, and highlight how interconnected we are in terms of our challenges and solutions.

    Fighting the War Against Vaccine Hesitancy (With Compassion, Humility & Facts)

    Fighting the War Against Vaccine Hesitancy (With Compassion, Humility & Facts)

    In this episode of COVID19 CONVERSATIONS we talk with a philosopher about the roots of science denialism and what research tells us about how to address them in order to boost vaccine confidence at this critical moment in our history.



    Further Reading:

    South Africa’s immunisation record risks being dented by anti-vaccination views (The Conversation - January 21, 2021)

    How To Talk to COVID-19 Deniers (Newsweek - August 18, 2020)

    Vaccine Hesitancy, an Escalating Danger in Africa (Think Global Health - December 17, 2019)

    How to Debate a Science Denier (Scientific American - June 25, 2019)

    I used to be opposed to vaccines. This is how I changed my mind. (Washington Post - February 11, 2019)



    Guest: Lee McIntyre

    Producer and Host: Maaza Seyoum

    Production Assistants: Luis Gonzalez Kompalic & Vivienne Naidoo

    Editor: Luis Gonzalez Kompalic

    Executive Producer: Tian Johnson

    Queries: info@africanalliance.org.za

    www.africanalliance.org.za

    • 1 hr 1 min
    Loss & Love in the Pandemic

    Loss & Love in the Pandemic

    In this episode of COVID19 CONVERSATIONS we talk with two COVID-19 survivors about grief, guilt, loss, and intimacy in midst of a pandemic.



    Further Reading:

    Caring for Someone Sick [With COVID-19] at Home (US Centers for Disease Control & Prevention - February 11, 2021)

    Zimbabwe: Covid cases dying at home as hospitals reach capacity (The Africa Report - February 5, 2021)

    What It Means of 1 Partner Tests Positive for COVID-19 And The Other Doesn’t (HuffPost - January 13, 2021)

    Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): Home care for families and caregivers (Q&A) (World Health Organization - August 13, 2020)



    Guests: Paida Gurupira & Wilfred Gurupira

    Producer and Host: Maaza Seyoum

    Editor and Production Assistant: Luis Gonzalez Kompalic

    Executive Producer: Tian Johnson

    Queries: info@africanalliance.org.za



    www.africanalliance.org.za

    • 53 min
    ENSEMBLE Study Interim Results

    ENSEMBLE Study Interim Results

    In this episode of COVID19 CONVERSATIONS - The Podcast Series, we talk – for a second time – to Professor Linda-Gail Bekker, Chief Research Officer of the Desmond Tutu Health Foundation in Cape Town. Professor Bekker is currently serving as Co-Chair of the South African arm of the Johnson & Johnson ENSEMBLE Study. ENSEMBLE is a Phase 3 COVID-19 vaccine trial for which interim results have just been released, with data that includes important findings from South Africa. Professor Bekker unpacks some of the numbers for us, and we talk about what makes this COVID-19 vaccine different from the others that have shown efficacy in the last few months. We touch on Linda-Gail’s own experience as a COVID-19 survivor and discuss critical questions of vaccine hesitancy, vaccine access, and the challenging work ahead.

    To hear our first conversation with Professor Bekker – which took place just before the ENSEMBLE Study was launched in South Africa – please click here.

    Further Reading:

    ·  Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine trial shows protection against Covid-19 deaths and severe disease (Maverick Citizen – January 29, 2021)

    ·  Johnson & Johnson brings another effective Covid-19 vaccine to the arsenal — in a single dose (Vox – January 29, 2021)

    Producer and Host: Maaza Seyoum

    Guest: Linda-Gail Bekker

    Production Assistants: Vivienne Naidoo & Luis Gonzalez Kompalic

    Executive Producer: Tian Johnson

    Queries: info@africanalliance.org.za

    • 59 min
    Volunteering to be a part of history - Meet three COVID-19 vaccine trial participants

    Volunteering to be a part of history - Meet three COVID-19 vaccine trial participants

    In November 2020, less than a year after SARS-CoV-2 was identified and named, the world received optimistic news about several COVID-19 vaccines that showed impressive efficacy in fighting infection and severe disease. We are now watching with excitement as the first COVID-19 vaccines are administered in the United Kingdom and the United States. Researchers and scientists often receive the accolades and awards when research is successful. Although that attention is well-deserved, we believe that the essential role of research participants – without whom none of these successes would be possible – should also be recognized and celebrated. In this episode we talk to three COVID-19 vaccine trial participants. Mx. Luckyboy Mkhondwane and Professor Francois Venter are both participating in the Ox1CoV-19 vaccine VIDA-trial (also known as the Oxford trial or the AstraZeneca trial) in South Africa. Dr. Brett Kissela is participating in the Moderna mRNA-1273 trial in the United States. We invite you to take a look back at a conversation we had with them before the results were released, discussing why they chose to undertake this service, what their experience was like, their hopes and fears, and what they want their fellow global citizens to know about the research process. Their insights also highlighted differences and similarities across South Africa and the United States in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Note: During this conversation we referred to the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in South Africa and the United States. Since recording, those numbers have grown significantly. For up-to-date global COVID-19 numbers, please refer to the WHO Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Dashboard.

    Related Content:

    I'm in a Covid-19 vaccine clinical trial to honor my father, fight racism and exercise my power (NBC Think)

    Local doctor signs up to participate in Moderna vaccine trial at UC (WKRC)

    Taking part in the Covid-19 vaccine trial is giving me life and hope (Daily Maverick)

    Wits University senior clinicians volunteer for Covid-19 vaccine trial (Wits University YouTube channel)



    Producer and Host: Maaza Seyoum, African Alliance



    Guests: Mx. Luckyboy Edison Mkhondwane (Treatment Action Campaign Prevention and Treatment Literacy Training Coordinator), Professor Francois Venter (Divisional Head of Ezintsha at the University of the Witwatersrand), and Dr. Brett Kissela (Professor and Chair of the Department of Neurology and Rehabilitation Medicine, Senior Associate Dean for Clinical Research at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, and Chief of Research Services for UC Health)

    Audio Track: Bensound



    Voice Over: Lebogang Mashile



    Production Assistant: Vivienne Naidoo, African Alliance



    Executive Producer: Tian Johnson, African Alliance



    Queries: info@africanalliance.org.za

    • 58 min
    South Africa Launches new COVID-19 Vaccine Trial

    South Africa Launches new COVID-19 Vaccine Trial

    In this episode of COVID19 CONVERSATIONS - The Podcast Series, we talk to Professor Linda-Gail Bekker, Chief Research Officer of the Desmond Tutu Health Foundation in Cape Town. Professor Bekker is currently serving as Co-Chair of the South African arm...of the Johnson & Johnson ENSEMBLE Study. 

    ENSEMBLE is a Phase 3 COVID-19 vaccine trial which plans to enroll up to 60,000 participants in eight countries (Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Peru, South Africa, and the United States). Once it kicks off in South Africa, ENSEMBLE will become the third Phase 3 COVID-19 vaccine trial underway in the country and on the continent. 

    In this conversation, Professor Bekker describes ENSEMBLE, and we discuss what makes it unique when compared with the other COVID-19 vaccine research currently underway. In addition, we explore how the many lessons learned from decades of work on HIV advocacy and research are being applied to the fight against SARS-CoV-2.

    Here are some resources relevant to this conversation that might be of interest:

    ·      Coronavirus Vaccine Tracker

    ·      COVID-19 Prevention Network (COVPN)

    ·      COVAX: Working for global equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines

    Further Reading:

    ·      What we know about vaccine hesitancy in South Africa (Spotlight – October 7, 2020)

    ·      COVID-19 vaccines: how to ensure Africa has access (Nature – October 6, 2020)

    ·      Leveraging the advances in HIV for COVID-19 (Lancet – October 3, 2020)

    ·      Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine advances, sparking optimism in race (New York Times – September 23, 2020)



    Producer and Host: Maaza Seyoum, African Alliance



    Guest: Professor Linda-Gail Bekker, Desmond Tutu Health Foundation



    Audio Track: Bensound



    Voice Over: Lebogang Mashile



    Production Assistant: Vivienne Naidoo, African Alliance



    Executive Producer: Tian Johnson, African Alliance



    Queries: info@africanalliance.org.za

    • 55 min
    Ethics in Public Health Emergencies - Focus on COVID-19

    Ethics in Public Health Emergencies - Focus on COVID-19

    In this first episode of COVID19 CONVERSATIONS - The Podcast Series, we talk about the role of ethics in COVID-19 Research, the role of communities where research is happening and the ethical responsibilities of scientists and researchers conducting clinical trials across the globe.

    Our guests, as we work on unpacking this multi-layered issue, are Professor Morenike Ukpong, a founding member of the Vaccine Advocacy Resource Group and Dr. Samuel Ujewe is, a Research Fellow at the Canadian Institute for Genomics and Society in Ontairo. Professor Ukpong and has participated in several agenda‐setting initiatives relating to biomedical HIV prevention technology; and research ethics, both in Nigeria and internationally. She is based at the Obafemi Awolowo University in Ife, Nigeria. Dr. Ujewe is a scholar in Applied Ethics & Health Policy, with specializations in inequities in global health, health and social justice, cross-cultural bioethics, and population health ethics.

    Further Reading:


    The Global Code of Conduct for Research in Resource-Poor Settings aims to stop the export of unethical research practices to low and middle income countries.
    A wide range of resources on Ethical research in the context of public health emergencies has been curated juts for you! View or download here!
    A range of up to date stats, commentary and data see The Milken Institute



    Host : Maaza Seyoum, African Alliance



    Guests: Professor Morenike Ukpong & Dr Samuel Ujewe



    Audio Track: Bensound



    Voice Over: Lebogang Mashile



    Executive Producer : Tian Johnson , African Alliance



    Queries: info@africanalliance.org.za

    • 48 min

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