Kenya is participating in Oxford University’s global clinical trials for a Covid-19 vaccine candidate, the Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI)has said. 40 Frontline workers from Kilifi have already begun testing the vaccine.
The vaccine candidate, named ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 was developed jointly with Astrazeneca and is being evaluated in Britain, Brazil, South Africa and Kenya.
“To ensure that Kenyans can benefit… if it proves to be successful, it is important to assess its performance among Kenyan volunteers,” the Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI) said in a statement.
KEMRI says the first volunteers went through the vaccination process after receiving the required regulatory and ethical approvals. Once they ascertain the safety of the initial team, they are planning to recruit 360 more volunteers into the programme.
Kenya has experienced a surge in Covid-19 infections after the government lifted restrictions aimed at curbing the spread of the virus in September. So far, the country has recorded a total of 52,612 infections with 964 fatalities.
“The Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine is expected to be one of the first from big pharma to secure regulatory approval, along with Pfizer and BioNTech’s candidate, as the world tries to plot a path out of the COVID-19 pandemic.” Reuters said in an article.