Kenyans will not be used as guinea pigs in coronavirus vaccine tests, Uhuru says


Kenyans will not be used as guinea pigs in coronavirus vaccine tests, Uhuru says
President Uhuru Kenyatta in a State address on Saturday, April 25, 2020. PHOTO| COURTESY

President Uhuru Kenyatta has dismissed reports claiming that scientists from the United Kingdom are considering testing a vaccine for the coronavirus in Kenya.

Kenyatta made the remarks after BBC’s Medical Correspondent Fergus Walsh said during an interview that a team of scientists from Oxford University were working on a coronavirus vaccine which will be tried in Kenya if they don’t get early quick results in the U.K.

“… the team in Oxford have developed a successful prototype against another type of coronavirus; MERS, and they have also developed vaccines against malaria,” he said.

“If they don’t get early quick results in the UK they are considering a trial in Kenya where the epidemic of coronavirus will be on the rise…”

The remarks by the BBC correspondent triggered massive reactions from Kenyans who demanded that the government addresses that matter.

In a State address on Saturday, President Kenyatta termed the remarks as absolutely false.

“Some people were saying in interview that there is a research going on that  will have Kenyans used as guinea pigs for a vaccine. Those claims are absolutely false,” said Kenyatta.

The Head of State said the Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI) and the Institute of Primate Research (IPR) are working on finding a vaccine, adding that Kenyans would be publicly informed before any such tests are done.

“Our institutions specifically like Kemri and the Institute of Primate Research (IPR) and others are inclined in the global effort to try and find a vaccine. And once we have found one and reach an area where these vaccines can be tested on humans we shall keep you informed and nothing shall be done in the dark,” said Kenyatta.

“I appeal to those passing on unverified information do not cause panic and anxiety among your fellow Kenyans.”

As of Saturday, April 25, there were 343 coronavirus cases in Kenya, 98 recoveries and 14 deaths from the COVID-19 disease.

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Story By Benjamin Muriuki
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