Roche has announced that Kenya will participate in a global clinical trial for potential treatment for COVID-19 associated pneumonia.
COVID-19 patients in Kenya have already began enrolling in the EMPACTA clinical trial at the Clinical Research Unit at the Aga Khan University Hospital, Nairobi.
Both public and private sector patients in Kenya were eligible to participate in the trial if they met the study criteria which is being run at the Aga Khan University Hospital, Nairobi.
The EMPACTA study is a global Phase III clinical trial. It is a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled and multicenter study that will evaluate the efficacy and safety of Roche’s medicine Actemra (tocilizumab) in the treatment of COVID-19 associated hospitalised pneumonia.
“The COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve rapidly in Kenya and around the world and Roche is doing everything we can to contribute. Our people are working day and night with the aim of developing, manufacturing and supplying key tests and medicines where they are needed most. We are so glad to see Kenyan patients on the EMPACTA trial," said Dr Beatrice Nyawira, Medical Director, Roche Kenya Ltd. “Disparities and lack of diversity in medical research holds the global community back, and Roche Kenya is proud to help close this gap.”
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“This is a watershed moment for Kenya and us at the Aga Khan University Hospital, Nairobi, that we can participate in an international clinical trial that is testing the effectiveness of this novel drug on our patients here,” said Dr Reena Shah, Associate Professor of Medicine in Infectious Diseases, and the Principal Investigator of the study in Kenya. "This is where we contribute knowledge and experience about our capability and the outcome of our patients to the international community."
As of July 20, Kenya reported a total of 13,771 Covid-19 cases since the virus was first confirmed on March 13. The death toll stood at 238 while total recoveries were at 5,616.
Roche is a global pharmaceuticals and diagnostics firm focused on advancing science to improve people’s lives
The firm has partnered with Kenyan Ministry of Health, healthcare providers, laboratories, authorities and organisations to help fight COVID-19. Roche’s response in Kenya focuses on three pillars: science, supply and support.
Science: Roche Diagnostics developed two tests for COVID-19. The first detects if someone currently has Covid-19. The second is a qualitative Covid-19 antibody test that can help assess how a body’s immune system is responding to the virus.
The company is conducting a number of phase III clinical studies, including EMPACTA, to evaluate the safety and efficacy of one of its medicines, Actemra to help find answers that patients and medical teams need.
Supply: Globally, Roche’s people are working to develop, manufacture and supply its key tests where they are needed most.
Roche is accelerating global manufacturing of medicines and tests and is optimising the use of equipment that already exists in African laboratories to help increase the number of tests that can be performed in each country.
Support: The firm is supporting East African communities with on-the-ground actions, partnering closely with organisations to keep medical workers safe and provide better access to care.
This has included donations of PPE to those on the COVID-19 frontline in public hospitals and financial support to governments and UN agencies taking care of the fragile and conflict affected communities.