Uganda Government to start Covid vaccine trials on chimpanzees
The government is looking for a facility to outsource clinical trials of two locally developed Covid-19 vaccines on chimpanzees.
Dr Monica Musenero, the minister for Science, Technology and Innovation, at the weekend said the two candidate vaccines have already been tested on mice and that the results are good.
“In Africa, and probably many parts of the world, we are the only country that has set up the whole value chain that will enable our research on any vaccine in the future. We have never done this before and a team from WHO (World Health Organisation) is coming in at the end of this month to ensure that no mistakes are made in the vaccine trials,” Dr. Musenero said yesterday.
she said they used Swiss and ACE2 mice to test the vaccines because their genetic, biological, and behavioral characteristics closely resemble those of humans but they cannot be infected by Covid.
However, when it is injected into them, they replicate the symptoms on human beings which they study before starting trials on primates whose DNA is closest to human beings to establish the safety and efficacy of the vaccine before it is introduced on human beings.
During the 7th International Day of Women and Girls in Science Uganda celebrations at Mulago Hospital last week, Ms Brenda Nakazibwe, the programme coordinator of the presidential science initiative on epidemics, who represented Dr Musenero as the chief guest, encouraged women doctors to inspire as many girls to study sciences because the candidate Covid-19 vaccines being tried in the country have been developed by women and the results are attracting global attention.
Dr Olive Kobusingye, the keynote speaker, decried the reducing number of girls enrolling for science courses, attributing it to cultural, social and political barriers.
She encouraged women scientists to fight against the culture to help girls increase access to science courses.
“We should be intentional to support and mentor more girls in sciences to include as many as we can because girls can be what they want to be,” she said.
This year’s theme centered on water and the different aspects in which it is important to life.