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UVRI to start rift valley human vaccine trials

Uganda Virus Research Institute officials. PHOTO via @UVRIug

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Uganda Virus Research Institute-UVRI is set to conduct phase one trials of the Rift Valley Fever human vaccine. The trials are expected to start next month.

The trial will use an improved version of ChAdOx1-GnGc-a vaccine currently only used by animals to treat RVF as an option to treating RVF in humans. Funding for the project is from the UK Vaccine Research and Development Network.

Prof Potiano Kaleebu, the Director of the Uganda Virus Research Institute says that the vaccine is being developed to treat RVF in humans.

Prof Kaleebu explains that the trial aims at developing one vaccine that can be used by both animals and humans to treat the deadly disease.

The vaccine that will be used is currently being used in Oxford for Phase 1 clinical trials. The trials in Uganda will take place in Masaka because it is along the cattle corridor.

Prof Kaleebu says that all the 40 participants of the trial will be from Masaka and should be healthy.

The participants in the trial will get two doses of the vaccine. The doses will vary in amount.

Prof Kaleebu explains this will help them identify the right quantity needed for the vaccine.

“This is the first time the vaccine has been made to treat human beings. So, we do not know what doses to use. So, we are going to give varying amounts of the vaccine to the participants to try and get the right dosage required.”

If left untreated, RVF has a 90 percent mortality rate in sheep, goats and cattle. It can also lead to abortion in these animals.

Data from the Health Ministry shows that between 2016 and 2018, ten RVF outbreaks were reported in the country. A total of 7 people succumbed to death.

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