Kenyan scientists discover new Ebola Vaccine

Professor Aggrey Omu Anzala founding member of Kenya Aids Vaccine Initiative during a past interview. A study seeks to establish whether induced antibodies can prevent the growth and spread of the virus. [File, Standard]
A group of Kenyan researchers are on the verge of making history in the treatment of Ebola.

The researchers from the Kenya Medical Research Institute (Kemri) have said two vaccines they have come up with could work against the deadly disease. They said they were testing them for side effects in human beings.

There is a fresh outbreak of Ebola in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The study carried out in Kericho and Kombewa in Kisumu is evaluating the safety of the vaccines for two Ebola virus strains.

According to the study's associate investigator, Josephat Kosgei, the researchers were testing the two vaccines against the Ebola virus to find out if they were safe.

“We want to investigate how the body’s immune system responds to the study vaccines,” Dr Kosgei told reporters during a visit to the study site in Kericho on Friday.

The study was sponsored by Janssen Vaccines & Prevention B V, a company associated with Johnson & Johnson.

Yesterday, he said the second phase of the vaccine trial, which started In March 2017, enrolled 122 participants who received two vaccinations and that all the subjects were being followed up.

“We have done six months visits. We are waiting for the last visit at one year, which will be six months from now, then data analysis will be done,” said Kosgei.

He added that participants' clinical evaluation included medical history and physical examination at every study visit.

A Kemri director at the Kericho site, Fredrick Sawe, said the study was a breakthrough in the search for an Ebola vaccine. He said after the trials, which were at their tail end, it would be able to treat Ebola patients and prevent infection.

“For you to know that the Ebola vaccine is working you need to give it to a community that has Ebola,” said Dr Sawe.

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