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COVID-19 vaccine trials begin in Kenya

The Kenyan COVID-19 vaccine trial team has vaccinated its first volunteers after receiving the necessary regulatory and ethical approvals.

The first volunteers in the Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI) project were vaccinated at the Kilifi-based KEMRI Wellcome Trust Research Programme. The trials are meant to evaluate a leading COVID-19 vaccine contestant.

“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,” a statement from the Institute read.

The trial vaccine has been developed by the University of Oxford in partnership with AstraZeneca. The vaccine is currently under evaluation in several countries around the world.

According to the KEMRI, this trial will assess whether the ChAdOx1 vaccine is safe, and effective. It will also test its ability to provide immunity against COVID-19 in adults aged 18 years and above. The trial is expected to run for 24 months.

Why Kenyan Trial?

A vaccine that works in one population does not necessarily work in all populations.  Therefore, it’s important to find out whether the trial vaccine works among the Kenyan population to ensure that Kenyans can benefit from the vaccine if it proves successful.

Tracing Vaccine’s Genesis

The vaccine was made by consolidating genetic material from the SARS-CoV-2 virus into a ChAdOx1 adenovirus vaccine platform. This platform has a well-established track record in evoking safe immune responses in the body when used against other diseases.

“This has allowed the clinical development of ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 to move forward rapidly, with over 10,000 volunteers immunized across the global trial sites and the vaccine found to be well-tolerated,” KEMRI says.


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Hebrews Rono
Digital Content Creator, Editor
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