Antiviral pills could take sting out of COVID-19 vaccine

Local clinical trials have started on antiviral pills that can be administered in place of the vaccine injection to prevent COVID-19 infection.
Close up view of COVID- vaccines in medical ampoules pills capsules disposable syringe on dark and soft blue background

Local clinical trials have started on antiviral pills that can be administered in place of the vaccine injection to prevent COVID-19 infection, which – if successful – would address vaccine hesitancy among people who are afraid of needles. By Max Matavire. 

The African Health Research Institute has started clinical trials on antiviral pills that will potentially be offered as an alternative to the vaccine injection to prevent COVID-19 infections.

This is according to the institute’s deputy director, Professor Thumbi Ndungu, who said that the results of the trials are expected in about six months’, adding that the study is expected to attract thousands of participants.

“We do not know how effective it will be, as the results will only be out in six months. The clinical trials have already begun for antivirals that can be taken to prevent infections. If found to be effective, it would be a very significant move in the prevention of COVID-19 infections, as the vaccine is currently only administered as a jab,” said Ndungu.

Many people are afraid of injections and would rather take the vaccine in pills form. If the antiviral pills are found to be effective, they would cater to this group.

Meanwhile, Professor Julio de Oliveira, of the University of KwaZulu-Natal, said it was difficult to predict a fourth COVID-19 wave. South Africa has just exited a third wave.

Super spreader events

“It difficult to predict a fourth wave. However, one thing we know is that in South Africa there is an increase in people’s mobility during December, and this is fertile ground for the spread of the disease. I personally find it difficult to predict a fourth wave, but I know some of my colleagues have, and they believe it is coming,” said de Oliveira.

He said that people were now growing tired of COVID-19 restrictions and want to go back to their normal lives. “Actually, this COVID-19 fatigue should drive people to be vaccinated so that life goes back to normal,” he said.

There are also concerns about potential super spreader events in November and the beginning of December, such as the Rage Festival that annually attracts thousands of matric students to Plettenberg Bay, in the Western Cape, to celebrate the end of their school career.– Health-e News


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