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.
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