COVID-19 the Focus of Discipline of Pharmaceutical Sciences Research Symposium
The Discipline of Pharmaceutical Sciences (DoPS) held its 2021 virtual Research Symposium which focused on a range of topics but with the focus on COVID-19.
Research Co-ordinator, the Rev Dr Lehlohonolo Mathibe, facilitated the proceedings while Academic Leader and head of DoPS Professor Frasia Oosthuizen welcomed the about 130 symposium participants reminding them about the importance of research.
The keynote address was delivered by the Head of the South African Vaccination and Immunisation Centre (SAVIC) and Programme Co-ordinator of the MPharm in Public Health, Pharmacy and Management in the School of Pharmacy at Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University near Pretoria, Professor Hannelie Meyer.
Meyer’s presentation, titled: Vaccine Safety in the Era of COVID-19, highlighted the increasing number of COVID-19 cases in South Africa, the reasons why people are hesitant to vaccinate and the perceptions and benefits of vaccinating.
‘The development of the new variant of COVID-19 is due to the increased number of cases of the disease. There is a low number of vaccinated people, we’re at 35% as opposed to the 70% needed by the Department of Health,’ said Meyer.
Complacency, confidence and convenience were the main reasons why people were hesitant to vaccinate. ‘Social media has played a pivotal role in providing false medical information on testing, the side effects of the vaccines and the safety of the vaccines resulting in many people being hesitant to vaccinate,’ said Meyer.
The symposium included honours degree researchers who made presentations on their work. Topics included: Comparing Generational Ways of Thinking around COVID-19 and the Role of Misinformation on Risk Reduction Attitudes; The Binding Free Energies of FDA - Approved Drugs Against Subtype B and C-SA HIV PR, and The Utilisation of Tramadol in South Africa.
Examiners included Professor Veron Ramsuran of the School of Laboratory Medicine and Medical Sciences and Dr Nelisiwe Khuzwayo of the Discipline of Public Health Medicine, School of Nursing and Public Health who gave feedback to each of the groups.
Professor Vassie Naidoo led the final year students’ oath-taking ceremony to end the first ever DoPS virtual research symposium.
Words: Mandisa Shozi