What you need to know:
- 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.
Kenya has joined global efforts to search for an effective vaccine for Covid-19 with the start of a trial evaluating vaccine candidate ChAdOx1 nCoV-19.
A trial team from the Kenya Medical Research Institute (Kemri) will carry out the experiment at the Kemri Wellcome Trust Research Programme in Kilifi County, a longstanding collaboration by Kemri, Oxford University and the Wellcome Trust in the UK
In a statement Friday, Kemri said it has vaccinated its first volunteers after receiving the necessary regulatory and ethical approvals and go-ahead from Kilifi and the Health ministry.
The trial in Kenya will initially involve 40 frontline workers in Kilifi. Once the vaccine safety is confirmed, a further 360 volunteers will be recruited with possible expansion of the trial to Mombasa County.
Following immunisation, the volunteers’ health, side effects and immunity development will be monitored over 12 months.
The ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 vaccine has been 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.
ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 was made by incorporating genetic material from SARS-CoV-2 virus into the ChAdOx1 adenovirus vaccine platform, that has a well-established track record in terms of its ability to safely elicit immune responses in humans when used for other diseases
This has allowed the clinical development of ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 to move forward rapidly, with over 10,000 volunteers immunised across the global trial sites and the vaccine found to be well tolerated.
The study plans to evaluate whether the ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 vaccine is safe and effective and if it elicits good immune responses in adults in Kenya aged 18 years and above.
“Vaccines which work in one population do not necessarily work in all populations. This has been witnessed in the case of vaccines against malaria, rotavirus and Ebola. To ensure Kenyans can benefit from the ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 vaccine if it proves successful, it is important to assess its performance among Kenyan volunteers,” Kemri said.
The institute has been involved in preclinical vaccine development, first-in-human trials as well as early and late-stage evaluation of vaccine candidates against malaria, Ebola, shigella, yellow fever and pneumonia.