Kenyans could be among the first beneficiaries of the coronavirus vaccine as local scientists actively involved in the search for the drug, the Ministry of Health has revealed.
On Wednesday, the Health Chief Administrative Secretary Mercy Mwangangi said Kenya and South Africa are the only African countries participating in the search being conducted by Oxford University.
Speaking on a day the virus claimed 18 people, the ministry, however, said the country is exploring different vaccine trials across the globe.
“We have collaborations with the University of Oxford and other partners in terms of ensuring that when this vaccine is found Kenya does have a stake,” CAS Mwangangi said.
She said the government was working closely with both local and international partners to ensure the fight against Coronavirus succeeds citing World Health Organisation (WHO) among others.
On Wednesday, WHO country representative Ruddi Eggers delivered a donation of laboratory kits and Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) worth Sh32 million.
Eggers expressed optimism that with the robust efforts of scientists, a vaccine would be found and alleviate the human suffering and restore normalcy.
Mwangangi further mentioned that the dreaded virus has taken one of the country’s renowned official at the Kenya Medical Research Institute (Kemri).
Kamau Mugenda, a senior corporate affairs manager at Kemri was among the fatalities.
“Mugenda will be remembered for human resource development, automation of the institute processes through implantation of ERP, systems and infrastructural development. Mugenda was buried yesterday,” she said.
“My sincere condolences to the families and friends of the late Mugenda and all those who have lost their loved ones.”
Of the 18 fatalities, 15 had preexisting medical conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, asthma and kidney; however, three patients had no known condition apart from Covid-19, she said.
Another patient, a 55-year-old woman died at her home in Meru County; she had been battling hypertension.
“Unfortunately today we did have a home fatality; a death reported from home. This was in Meru,” the CAS said.
Some 679 positive cases were recorded on Wednesday from 6,590 samples tested. This brings the total of cases to 28,504.
Of the new infection is a one-month-old baby. On the flip side, 783 more patients have been discharged after they fully recovered.
Nairobi, which has become the epicenter of the respiratory illness has 349 new cases followed by neighbouring Kiambu with 69.
Other counties topping the charts include Kajiado (35), Machakos (25), Nyeri (23), Garissa (18), Mombasa (16), Kericho (14), and Uasin Gishu, 13.