COVID-19 vaccine trials reach enrolment milestones at Research Sites

8 December 2022
Photo: (L-R) Drs Disebo Potloane, Nivashnee Naicker and Professor Nigel Garrett
The eThekwini and Vulindlela Research teams, led by Site-Principal Investigators Dr Nivashnee Naicker and Dr Disebo Potloane, completed enrolment of more than 1200 participants into the SHERPA (Sisonke Heterologous mRNA-1273 boost after prime with Ad26.COV2.S) trial and the COVPN 3008 Ubuntu trial. 

The SHERPA trial evaluates the effectiveness of a Moderna mRNA vaccine boost among 12 000 healthcare workers who previously received either one or two doses of the Ad26.CoV2.S Johnson and Johnson vaccine in the Sisonke trial.  The Ubuntu trial is investigating different mRNA vaccine strategies among people living with HIV within the context of new circulating SARS-CoV-2 variants in Southern and East Africa. 

Recently, the new bivalent (BA.4/BA.5/ ancestral) Moderna vaccine was added to the trial to assess its utility in this setting. Both trials will provide important safety and efficacy data in this setting, with a view to obtain licensure of the vaccine in South Africa.

Dr Naicker highlights that it was no easy feat meeting ambitious enrolment targets at record pace. “The teams have worked tirelessly over the past 2 years to support the COVID-19 response locally and globally,” she said.  

Professor Nigel Garrett, National Co-PI of SHERPA, and International Co-Chair of Ubuntu added that the “COVID-19 response will go down in history as one of the most collaborative periods in research, and the CAPRISA clinical and scientific teams have made a remarkable contribution to the national and international effort.”