The Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI) is expected to kick off Covid-19 vaccine trials in a few weeks, Nation has reported.
According to Nation, KEMRI’s Director General Prof Kombe Yeri said they are acquiring requisite ethical and regulatory approvals before starting trials on ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 vaccine.
“We are conducting several preparations ahead of the trials. First, it was important for us to get all valid licences from relevant authorities. The Kemri team must also ensure that the vaccine is of required standards and is not harmful to humans,” Prof Yeri said.
According to Yeri, the trials team has already obtained approvals from the Kemri Scientific Ethics Review Committee, the Pharmacy and Poisons Board and the National Commission for Science, Technology and Innovation.
Prof Yeri said the team is awaiting additional approvals from relevant authorities before starting the trials.
Yeri said Kemri will inform all stakeholders once the process is complete, and also set up public participation channels to get views from the public as per the law.
8000 volunteers have already received the vaccine in phased trials in the United Kingdom, Brazil and South Africa.
According to Kemri’s trials team leader prof George Warimwe, the vaccine’s production is in phase three and the team is confident of its safety profile and ability to steer required immune responses in the body.
“We are working on a vaccine that has gone through various stages and we are confident of its safety profile and ability to elicit good immune responses. We want to evaluate whether the vaccine performs just as well in this population as it has performed in other settings.”
ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 vaccine
The vaccine is made of extracts of Adenovirus, a virus which causes mild flu in chimpanzees. The Adenovirus has been modified to ensure it causes no harm to humans.
A similar approach was used to make a vaccine for the Ebola virus which saw successful control of the epidemic in western parts of Africa.
The latest comes as Kenyans are eagerly waiting for a report on alleged mismanagement of funds at Kemsa.