Kenya has kicked off the clinical trial to evaluate the effectiveness and safety of ChAdOx1 nCoV-19, a Covid-19 vaccine candidate.
The vaccine has been developed by the University of Oxford in partnership with AstraZeneca.
In a statement on Friday, the Kenya Medical Research Institute confirmed that the trial team has vaccinated its first volunteers.
This is after receiving the necessary regulatory and ethical approvals, as well as the national ministry of health, and a go-ahead by the Kilifi county.
The trial will be hosted at Kemri at its Kilifi-based Kemri-Wellcome Trust Research Programme, a longstanding collaboration between the institute, University of Oxford and the Wellcome Trust in the UK.
The study plans to evaluate whether the vaccine is safe, effective and elicits good immune responses in adults in Kenya aged 18 years and above.
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.
“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,” the statement says.
“To ensure that Kenyans can benefit from the ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 vaccine if it proves to be successful, it is important to assess its performance among Kenyan volunteers.”