Kenya has joined the global efforts in search of an effective vaccine for COVID-19 with the start of a trial evaluating the ChAdOx1 nCoV-2019 Oxford coronavirus vaccine.
The trial will be hosted at KEMRI at its Kilifi based KEMRI-Wellcome Trust Research Programme, a longstanding collaboration between KEMRI, the University of Oxford and the Wellcome Trust in the UK.
Following the necessary approvals from regulators, as well as the national ministry of health, and Kilifi county, the first volunteers for the trial have recently received their vaccinations.
Professor Andy Pollard, Director of the Oxford Vaccine Group and Chief Investigator of the Oxford Vaccine Trial, said:
‘We’re excited to see our colleagues in Kenya today joining those around the world in helping us to evaluate the ChAdOx1 nCov-2019 Oxford coronavirus vaccine, as it is important to evaluate the vaccine in as many different populations as possible.’
Kenya joins a number of countries including the United Kingdom, South Africa and Brazil who are running trials to evaluate the ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 vaccine, with over 20,000 volunteers now taking part in trials across these countries.
The trial in Kenya will initially involve 40 frontline workers in Kilifi County. Once the vaccine safety is confirmed, a further 360 volunteers will be recruited with possible expansion of the trial to Mombasa County.
Following immunisation, 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.