Kenya: Govt Says Unaware of Oxford's Intent to Roll Out Virus Vaccine Trials

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Nairobi — The Ministry of Health Friday denied knowledge of plans by Oxford University researchers to conduct clinical coronavirus vaccine trials in Kenya as reported by British broadcaster, BBC.

Fergus Walsh, medical correspondent at BBC had said the Oxford team is considering testing their vaccines on Kenyans if it will not get quick results with ongoing trials in the United Kingdom.

During a daily briefing on COVID-19, Chief Administrative Secretary Rashid Aman said the government is yet to receive official communication on the matter saying the health ministry will follow laid procedures should the request be submitted.

"As a government, we are not aware about the interest of this team to work with the Government of Kenya in testing this vaccine, there are proper laid out procedures on engagement of this nature," he said.

If approached for such an engagement, he said, the clinical trials will be subjected to thorough scrutiny by the relevant authorities.

"There are vigorous procedures of ethical review and approach of any clinical trials and we have a robust structure under the Pharmacies and Poisons Board (PPB) that is responsible for regulating and reviewing clinical trials," Amana said.

Oxford's human trials for coronavirus vaccine begun in Europe with 800 volunteers recruited for the study.The Oxford team is targeting 5,000 more recruits in the coming months.

Should the trials become effective, the scientists say a million vaccines will be ready by September.

Fergus said the Oxford researchers would opt for Kenya due to the lower transmission rates in the region.

He lauded the Oxford team saying they have a strong record for successfully developing vaccines against Mers, a type of corona virus, Malaria and other diseases.

As of April 24, the number of coronavirus cases in Kenya had increased to 336 follwoing the confirmation of 16 new cases.

Globally, there are nearly 3 million infections with 197,343 deaths and 800,000 recoveries recorded.

The United States leads with the highest number fatalities globally at approximately 50,000.

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