Uhuru reacts after Kenya was selected to manufacture mRNA vaccines

President Uhuru Kenyatta is attending the the 6th African Union (AU) - European Union (EU) Summit in Brussels, Belgium

President Uhuru Kenyatta is attending the the 6th African Union (AU) - European Union (EU) Summit in Brussels, Belgium

Kenya is among six African countries set to receive technology that will allow them to manufacture mRNA vaccines for the continent after applying and being selected under a World Health Organization program.

The World Health Organization (WHO) said in a statement on Friday that Egypt, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, and Tunisia will receive support in boosting manufacturing at a commercial scale from the global mRNA technology transfer hub.

The technology transfer project, launched last year in Cape Town, aims to help low- and middle-income countries manufacture mRNA vaccines at scale and according to international standards.

Speaking after the announcement by Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, President Uhuru Kenyatta appreciated the gesture saying it “demonstrates the power of partnerships to change the trajectory of Africa's health for the better.”

In 2021, Kenya expressed interest for the establishment of a technology transfer hub for mRNA vaccines in the country.

“Today marks a new dawn of hope and promise for the African continent and her people. As one of the region’s foremost leaders in biomedical research, Kenya is honoured to be listed as one of the beneficiary countries of the mRNA technology transfer program,” President Kenyatta said.

While appreciating Kenya’s selection, President Kenyatta said it was a vote of confidence for local scientists “within our institutions and across the region.”

Viruses contain a core of genes made of DNA or RNA wrapped in a coat of proteins. The main goal of a vaccine designed for a specific infectious agent, such as the virus that causes COVID-19, is to teach the immune system what that virus looks like.

To trigger an immune response, many vaccines put a weakened or inactivated germ into bodies. Not mRNA vaccines.

Instead, mRNA vaccines use mRNA created in a laboratory to teach our cells how to make a protein that triggers an immune response inside our bodies.

Once vaccinated, the immune system recognizes that the protein doesn’t belong there. This triggers our immune system to produce antibodies and activates other immune cells to fight off what it thinks is an infection.

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