Eskom interim Chairman, Professor Malegapuru Makgoba, has been appointed to serve on the 12-member expert panel of the Data and Safety Monitoring Board for the first COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials.
In a statement on Tuesday, the power utility congratulated Makgoba who also serves as South Africa’s Health Ombud on his appointment.
“We are proud that an African scientist associated with Eskom has been given this recognition and are confident that Professor Makgoba will lend his skill to the fight against the pandemic and discharge his scientific expertise to the benefit of all humanity,” said Eskom.
This as positive cases of the virus surpassed the 200 000 mark in South Africa on Monday.
Professor Makgoba has been invited to serve on the panel by the government of the United States of America (USA). The professor will join nine scientists, physicians, ethicists and biostatisticians from the USA, and two experts from Brazil and the United Kingdom.
Members of the board are selected based on their expertise and experience.
The Data and Safety Monitoring Board is responsible to ensure the safety of participants, the efficacy and immunogenicity of the candidate vaccine being tested or on trial, and it is the final structure to pronounce on vaccine approval.
The recommendations of the board will have an enormous impact on the overall global response, including South Africa’s to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The board is independent of investigators, organisations, and institutions conducting vaccine clinical trials.
The board has the authority to recommend that a trial be stopped early should there be concerns of participant safety.
”Finding a safe and efficacious vaccine is the ultimate goal that has become a global emergency, to significantly impact and to change the course of the COVID-19 pandemic that has caused so much devastation and misery to the whole of humankind and the future of the world,” said Eskom.