The briefing comes, as Wits University says efforts are underway to develop a new generation of jabs that will be more effective against the COVID-19 variant first identified here in South Africa.
TSA reported earlier that a joint Wits University/Oxford university study showed that the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine provides minimal protection against mild and moderate cases of the 501y.v2 variant.
This is the same vaccine that arrived in South Africa at the beginning of the month, and is due to be administered to health care workers in the next few days.
The WITS/Oxford study, due to be published Monday, found that in both the human trials and tests on the blood of those vaccinated, the jab showed significantly reduced efficacy against the 501Y.V2 viral variant, which is dominant in South Africa, according to the randomised, double-blind study seen by the Financial Times (FT).
Although none of the more than 2,000 participants in the study died or were hospitalized, the findings, which have not yet been peer-reviewed, could complicate the race to roll out vaccines as new strains emerge, the publication said.