• Mon. May 20th, 2024

University of Nairobi intensifies search for Covid-19 vaccine

Jul 2, 2021
On 4 March 2021, a health worker holds up a used vial of COVID-19 vaccine at Accra's Ridge Hospital as Ghana's rolls out its national COVID-19 vaccination campaign. Health workers, seniors and people with underlying conditions are prioritized for vaccination. As the global rollout of COVAX vaccines accelerates, the first COVID-19 vaccination campaigns in the African Region using COVAX doses began 1 March 2021 in Ghana and Côte D'Ivoire. These campaigns are the among the first to use doses provided by COVAX. This is an historic step towards ensuring equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines worldwide. COVAX, the vaccines pillar of the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator, is co-led by the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance and WHO working in partnership with developed and developing country vaccine manufacturers, UNICEF, the World Bank, and others. It is the only global initiative that is working with governments and manufacturers to ensure COVID-19 vaccines are available worldwide to both higher-income and lower-income countries.
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As vaccine shortage continues to prolong the pain of COVID-19 in Africa, with just under 1.5% of 2.7 billion doses having been administered in Africa.

The launch of the Sisulu foundation for African and pandemic disease response, which is a collaboration of African scientists and institutions, has been hailed as a critical step in making Africa self-reliant in training, research and guaranteeing the availability of vaccines and medicines.

At the KAVI institute for clinical research, at the University of Nairobi’s college of health sciences, critical and ground-breaking research on human vaccines continues.

Here, lead scientists explore different aspects of the body’s immune response, how antibodies are produced to fight different diseases.

“We are conducting trials with regard to the vaccine, we are actually conducting COVID-19 vaccines trails we are also generating the immune responses from people who have received the vaccine in the routine government vaccination,” Professor Walter Jaoko, director KAVI said on Thursday.

But even as Africa continues to fall behind in the race to vaccinate its population of 1.3 billion people against COVID-19, there are fewer than 10 African manufacturers with the vaccine production capacity, based in 5 countries : Egypt, Morocco, Senegal, South Africa and Tunisia

In order for African scientists to contribute to solving Africa’s health challenges, a consortium of African universities including the university of Nairobi , through KAVI institute and led by the Walter Sisulu university from South Africa announced the founding of the Sisulu foundation for African and pandemic disease response.

This will be a platform for research, training and will allow for conversations and proposals in the continent into actions that will guarantee availability of vaccines and medicines in Africa to control diseases and pandemics in the future.

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