Kenya to partner with Nigeria on disease control

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The Kenya Aids Vaccination Initiative (KAVI) has expressed its willingness to collaborate with Nigeria to tackle diseases in Africa.

Prof. Omu Anzala of the University of Nairobi and Programme Director of KAVI told NAN in Nairobi on Saturday that it had applied for grant through the Human Heredity and Health in Africa Initiative to carry out its researches.

“What we want is to be able to develop biological marker for various things that affect Africa. It is still in the process, if we get such funding then we shall initiate that collaboration,’’ he said.

According to Anzala, the initiative is an on-going global effort to apply genomic science and associated technologies to further the understanding of health and disease among different populations.

He added that the institute was now collaborating with Uganda, Rwanda, Zambia, Tanzania, South Africa and Gambia in its vaccine research works.

Anzala had earlier told African Science Journalists at a workshop in Nairobi that the phase one trial of the two KAVI AIDs vaccine, which started in 2011, would be completed by December 2012 and January 2013.

He explained that the trial of the vaccine was in three phases, noting that each phase was aimed at determining the safety, the immune response and the efficacy of the vaccine respectively.

“We will analysis the data and see maybe we can move to phase two trials or introduce another vaccine.’’

He said that the institute would also expand its vaccine research into other diseases, adding: “we have so much expertise that can actually be used for other diseases’’.

Anzala listed some of the challenges facing the institute as getting volunteers to try HIV vaccines on as well as following them up to monitoring the effectiveness of the vaccine.

“Once you have given somebody the product, they don’t just walk away you have to do follow up for at least two years and on monthly basis. ’’

The Programme Director urged African Governments to fund research and development works going on in the region.

He said that the institute researches were mainly funded by the International Vaccine Initiative, the Medical Research Council, the Canadian International Development Agency and other international donors.

“If you can research and understand your own society, then you can really go anywhere.

“If there are local funding we will actually be doing more than what we are doing currently and this is actually affecting our research capability.

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