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UVRI to conduct trials to reduce yellow fever vaccine dosage

Yellow fever vaccines and the vaccine card. PHOTO BY KCCA

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Uganda Virus Research Institute-UVRI is to start a new trial aimed at reducing the dosage of the yellow fever vaccine.

During the trial, a fifth of the yellow fever dosage 0.1 millilitres will be given to participants. The global recommended dose of yellow fever vaccination is 0.5 millilitres.

The study is expected to start this month in June. A total of 1,680 adults and 1,000 children aged between nine month and five years. The study will take place in both Kenya and Uganda.

A total of 12 billion shillings has been injected into the study by the European Union-EU through the European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnerships-EDCTP.

The study will be conducted in collaboration with Kenya Medical Research Institute, Medicins Sans Frontieres (Doctors without Borders), Pasteur Institute of Dakar in Senegal and Oxford University.

In Uganda, the study will be carried out at the Epicentre Health Research located at Mbarara University of Science and Technology.

Prof Pontiano Kaleebu, Director UVRI, says the study aims to determine the effectiveness of fractional doses of yellow fever.

During the study, people will be given a fraction of the vaccine and later exposed to the Flavivirus which causes the disease.

Dr Alfred Driwale the programme manager Uganda National Expanded Program on Immunisation-UNEPI says that the study will determine the proper dosage for people.

He says the decision to carry out the study stems from a 2016 Yellow Fever Outbreak in DRC.

Prof Kaleebu says if successful, the study will be able to address global shortages of the vaccines.

On the open market, a dose of yellow fever vaccine costs between 70,000 to 90,000 shillings depending on where one goes to get the jab or on availability of the jab. If the study is successful, Dr Driwale says that they hope price of getting the jab will reduce.

“Uganda is located in a Yellow Fever Endemic area. All Ugandans travelling are required to have been vaccinated against the disease. If one dose can be used by two or more people, hope that the price will reduce too so that people pay less.”

Globally, only five companies in the world manufacture yellow fever vaccines. These are; Bio-Manguinhos Oswaldo Cruz Foundation located in Brazil, Institute of Poliomyelitis and Viral Encephalitides in Russia, Sanofi Pasteur in France, Berna in Switzerland and the Pasteur Institute of Dakar in Senegal.

WHO estimates that there are 200,000 cases of yellow fever every year and that 30,000 people die from this disease around the world.

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