There is hope in the horizon for Kenya as the first trial for the COVID-19 vaccine goes into a trial over the next few weeks.
The Kenya Medical Research Institute is set to get involved in the global trials of the ChAdOx1 nCOV19 vaccine after getting the requisite approvals from the relevant authorities.
Trial team approvals
The trial team has so far gotten approval from the Pharmacy and Poisons Board, and the Ministry of Health. It also has approval from the National Commission for Science Technology and Innovation (NACOSTI), and the KEMRI Scientific Ethics Review Committee.
The ChAdOx1 vaccine is a modification of the adenovirus, which causes mild flu among chimpanzees.
The forty Kenyans who volunteered for the trials, KEMRI said, would not suffer any health complications.
“Those who will be involved in the trials, their health and well-being will not be affected,” KEMRI Director-General, Prof Kombe Yeri, said.
KEMRI also indicated that the trials were in the third phase. It joins other vaccines such as Moderna, BioNTech from Germany and Sinovac from Beijing, China in the third phase.
Some of the 40 volunteers will get the ChAdOx1 vaccine jab. The other, group, the control group, will get a rabies vaccine. To avoid the vaccine influencing their behaviour, which could change the outcome, none of the patients will know which vaccine they had been infected with.
Kenya is the second country to take part in the trial on the continent. South Africa has been the first.
Kenya has so far confirmed 37,489 COVID-19 cases. Deaths, meanwhile, have risen to 669 while recoveries have hit 24,334.
With infections appearing to be on the decline, the country could be edging towards the end of its first wave.
COVID-19 has no antidote. However, countries across the world have been hastening the development of possible vaccines.
So far the virus has infected over 32 million people, with deaths rising above 982,000.