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Sci Transl Med ; : eadd6383, 2022.
Article in English | PubMed | ID: covidwho-2137395


The U.S. Food and Drug Administration only gave emergency-use-authorization of the BNT162b2 and the mRNA-1273 SARS-CoV-2 vaccines for infants 6 months and older in June 2022. Yet, questions regarding the durability of vaccine efficacy, especially against emerging variants, in this age group remain. We demonstrated previously that a two-dose regimen of stabilized prefusion Washington SARS-CoV-2 S-2P spike (S) protein encoded by mRNA encapsulated in lipid nanoparticles (mRNA-LNP) or purified S-2P mixed with 3 M-052, a synthetic toll-like receptor (TLR) 7/8 agonist, in a squalene emulsion (Protein+3 M-052-SE) was safe and immunogenic in infant rhesus macaques. Here, we demonstrate that broadly neutralizing and spike-binding antibodies against variants of concern (VOC), as well as T cell responses, persisted for 12 months. At one year, corresponding to human toddler age, we challenged vaccinated rhesus macaques and age-matched non-vaccinated controls intranasally and intratracheally with a high-dose of heterologous SARS-CoV-2 B.1.617.2 (Delta). Seven of eight control rhesus macaques exhibited severe interstitial pneumonia and high virus replication in the upper and lower respiratory tract. In contrast, vaccinated rhesus macaques had faster viral clearance with mild to no pneumonia. Neutralizing and binding antibody responses to the B.1.617.2 variant at the day of challenge correlated with lung pathology and reduced virus replication. Overall, the Protein+3 M-052-SE vaccine provided superior protection to the mRNA-LNP vaccine, emphasizing opportunities for optimization of current vaccine platforms. Notably, the observed efficacy of both vaccines one year after vaccination supports the implementation of an early life SARS-CoV-2 vaccine.

OPEN LEARNING AS A MEANS OF ADVANCING SOCIAL JUSTICE: Cases in Post-School Education and Training in South Africa ; : 70-85, 2022.
Article in English | Web of Science | ID: covidwho-2012788


In its preamble, the Department of Higher Education and Training's (DHET) strategic plan for 2015 to 2020 identified ways to expand access to education and training. However, in South Africa, Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges' enrolment growth is inhibited by inadequate physical infrastructure and a shortage of additional and relevant human resources (DHET, 2018). The draft Open Learning Policy Framework for the Post-School Education and Training (2017) recommends that the principle of flexibility be applied to increase student access and support their success. This exploratory case study focuses on possibilities and limitations of flexible learning provision at a selected TVET college in the Free State province. It adopts Nancy Fraser's (1995, 2005) theory of social justice, which emphasizes parity of participation with respect to economic, cultural and political dimensions, to discuss ways in which flexible learning is socially just. COVID-19 lockdowns severely curtailed this study to virtual interviews with two institutional managers only, as students were not readily available. The transcripts were subsequently coded along Fraser's three dimensions of social justice. The study demonstrates that flexible learning provision responded to the economic dimensions of transport poverty by providing access to curriculum content via online platforms, radio broadcasts and hardcopy materials deposited for collection at selected physical destinations. In relation to cultural parity, it reveals that the college provides a pedagogically responsive intervention programme as a second opportunity for students to succeed. Politically, the study indicates that assessment practices at the college are exclusionary due to national assessment policies that constrain flexibility. This chapter contributes towards understanding the practices and policies that influence flexible learning provision as an aspirational form of open learning as well as the complex ways in which social injustices are entangled in the South African PSET sector.