On Wednesday, residents in South Africa and Brazil volunteered to begin the testing of a COVID-19 vaccination trial developed by the University of Oxford in Britain.
The trials are starting in South Africa because it is being said that the country was responsible for nearly one-third of the continent’s positive cases.
Although the continent of Africa as a whole was one of the last places to get hit by the pandemic, health officials are saying that numbers are now beginning to spike.
“The pandemic was delayed in Africa but is picking up speed very quickly,” John Nkengasongthe chief of the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a statement. “Unless we act now, Africa is at risk of being left behind on the global vaccine.”
There are now 325,000 active cases being reported across the entire continent, with the first one being reported on February 14. There is still a lack of testing options and medical supplies available to help combat the virus.
Officials are predicting that the continent will be hit hard and that vaccines should be readily available instead of only being available to those who can afford it.
There is no word on when trials will begin in Brazil. But, the South American country has also been hit hard by the virus in recent months.