KEMRI begins Covid-19 vaccine trials with 40 Kenyan volunteers

This is the first Covid-19 vaccine trial in Kenya

Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI) has announced the beginning of Covid-19 vaccine trials on Kenyan volunteers.

In a statement, KEMRI said that the first batch of volunteers consisting of 40 frontline workers in Kilifi County had been vaccinated with the ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 vaccine, and are being monitored.

This was done after the research institute received the necessary regulatory approvals, and greenlights from the Ministry of Health, and Kilifi County.

The trial will be hosted at KEMRI at its Kilifi based KEMRI-Wellcome Trust Research Programme, a longstanding collaboration between KEMRI, University of Oxford and the Wellcome Trust in the UK,” said a statement from the institute.

Once the vaccine safety is confirmed, a further 360 volunteers will be recruited with possible expansion of the trial to Mombasa County. Following immunization, vaccine trial volunteers will be monitored over a period of 12 months to assess their health, any vaccine side-effects and how their bodies develop immunity in response to the vaccine,” added KEMRI.

ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 vaccine was developed by the University of Oxford in partnership with AstraZeneca, and is currently under evaluation in several countries including the United Kingdom, South Africa and Brazil.

KEMRI noted that it is important for Kenya to conduct its own trials with the Covid-19 vaccine, because what works for one region or country, will not necessarily work in other regions. The research body noted that this can be attributed to the case of Malaria and Ebola vaccines which both work differently for people living in different regions.

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