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SA’s first vaccine trial for Covid-19 underway

The University of the Witwatersrand announced that the first clinical trial for a vaccine against Covid-19 begins this week.

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The University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) held a virtual press conference today to announce the first clinical trial for a vaccine against Covid-19 which will begin this week.

Participants for the South African Oxford 1 Covid-19 vaccine trial were screened last week and the first participants will be vaccinated this week.

The South African Ox1COV-19 vaccine VIDA- Trial aims to find a vaccine that will prevent infection by SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19.

Leading the South African Ox1COV-19 vaccine VIDA- Trial is Shabir Madhi, Professor of Vaccinology at Wits University and Director of the South Africa Medical Research Council (SAMRC) Vaccines and Infectious Diseases Analytics Research Unit (VIDA).

Wits University is working together with the University of Oxford and the Oxford Jenner Institute on the South African Trial

“This is a landmark moment for South Africa and Africa at this stage of the Covid-19 pandemic. As we enter winter in South Africa and pressure increases on public hospitals, now more than ever we need a vaccine to prevent infection by Covid-19,” said Madhi

VIDEO: YouTube ( Wits University Official)

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Universities

“GBV cannot be addressed without addressing gender inequality”-UJ

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Photo: UJ Website

Gender-based violence (GBV), a worldwide problem and according to President Cyril Ramaphosa “A war waged against women and children”.

This has also affected students on and off campus leading universities to ensure that responsive support services and safe spaces are made available to students.

In developing these support services, the University of Johannesburg recognises that “measures to deal with GBV need to move beyond reactive and curative responses, to prevention and addressing the social-cultural norms that enable gender inequality”.

To address the issue of GBV, last year UJ Senate appointed a task team to develop a comprehensive strategic plan to address GBV.  Key UJ stakeholders were  actively involved in this plan, which considers: (a) Intervention and responses, (b) Community education, awareness, marketing and prevention; (C) Teaching, learning and research, and (e) Monitoring and evaluation.

For more read here

UJ support services for GBV:

Transformation Division: Transformation@uj.ac.za I 011 559 7789

Gender Equity Unit: gender@uj.ac.za 

(PsyCaD): psycadinfo@uj.ac.za Crisis Line: 0820541137

Campus Health: APK 011 559 3837 / APB 011 559 1238 / DFC 011 559 6544 / SWC 011 559 5571

National and local support services

GBV Command Centre: 0800 428 428 * Please call *120*7867# * SMS help 31531 Lenasia South Thuthuzela Care Centre: 011 213 9722 * Nthabiseng Thuthuzela Care Centre: CHC Hospital: 011 933 1206 * Tembisa Hospital Masakhane Thuthuzela Care Centre: 011 923 2180  

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A new vision for WITS with new Vice-Chancellor Zeblon Vilakazi

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In the age of technological evolution and with much needed support for existing and upcoming young entrepreneurs-Wits’ new Vice-Chancellor Zeblon Vilakazi, looks to change the university’s vision to close these gaps.

Vilakazi’s vision for Wits is to turn it into a socially, creative and technically innovative incubation space for technology and entrepreneurship.

With the 4IR, it has become important to harness technology, introducing it within spaces which encourage transformation. Rethinking education and harnessing technology and entrepreneurship can guarantee transformation of higher Education institutions.

In the next two years Vilkazi sees a Wits where the curriculum is in line with the country’s needs and one which encourages transformation and continuous development within the education system.

A Wits where senior positions are a reflection of equality and of good example.

“You just set the parameters and let the ideas flourish. So I think that is my goal. That’s my dream of this university”,he said.

ABOUT WITS UNIVERSITY NEW VICE-CHANCELLOR

Vilakazi joined Wits in 2014 as deputy vice-chancellor for research and postgraduate affairs, and in April was appointed vice-principal.He also chairs South Africa’s National Quantum Computing Working Committee which seeks to develop a Framework for Quantum Computing and Quantum Technology-driven research and innovation in South Africa. 

Vilakazi will be the 15th vice-chancellor and principal of the university and will take over from Prof Adam Habib, who will leave at the end of the year to lead the School of Oriental and African Studies in London

“It is an honour  to have been appointed to this prestigious position,” said Vilakazi. “I am committed to working with my esteemed colleagues, fellow academics and smart, savvy students to create new knowledge, and to develop the high-level skills required to move SA and our economy forward. We also need to continue to develop the originators, innovators and critical thinkers who can help us solve the problems of the 21st century.”

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Gift of the givers donates ultra-fast Covid-19 test kit to UKZN

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The University of Kwazulu-Natal (UKZN) received ultra-fast Covid-19 test kit valued at $10 000, this was a donation made by the Gift the Givers foundation.

The ILEX Genehacker (testing unit) was donated to the institution after a request by UKZN researchers, professor Anil Chuturgoon, Dr Vernon Ramsuran and Dr. Lona Madurai.

Covid-19 cases within higher education institutions are expected to grow as institutions open up to more students and staff. The University of KwaZulu-Natal has reported the infections of a student and a staff member.Those who came into contact with the student and staff member have been asked to self-isolate for 14 days.

 “This generous donation will greatly enhance our existing capacity to provide rapid results on Covid-19 tests for both our staff and students. At the same time by extending our testing facility to external stakeholders we are able to generate much needed third-stream income for the university”, acting dean of research in the CHS and a lead researcher in Covid-19 testing platforms at UKZN, Chuturgoon said.

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