WHO sends team to standardise Uganda's Covid-19 drugs, vaccines

Dr Monica Musenero, the Minister for Science, Technology and Innovation and a team from World Health Organisation (WHO)’s Africa regional office poses for a photo. PHOTO/ TONNY ABET

A team from the World Health Organisation (WHO) is in Uganda to support the efforts in developing herbal medicines for Covid-19 and guide vaccine development.

Dr Monica Musenero, the Minister for Science, Technology and Innovation, said the team which is from the WHO Africa region that jetted in on February 28 on her request will spend 10 days in the country.

According to her, the WHO officials will aid in transforming the country’s “science, technology and innovations into industrial value chains.”

 “They will give us guidance and support where we need and [so], you shouldn’t be worried that our vaccine will be substandard when it comes out," Dr Musenero said.  

The Minister who has in the past months faced allegations of mismanagement of funds for Covid-19 vaccine development, recently said testing the locally-developed Covid-19 vaccines on human beings would start in eight months.

She said the vaccine which has already been tested in common mice has proven safe and it is capable of triggering an immune response.

The most advanced candidate Covid-19 vaccine is that developed by Makerere University scientists and is only waiting for the last testing on genetically engineered mice before trials on humans can start, according to Dr Musenero.

“It will take us three months to multiply the animals [genetically modified mice] so that we have enough number. The suppliers say they are working with the airline to ship. It will take us another three months to run the experiments,” she said.

She added: “And after that, we will be ready. Once we have good results, we are going to move directly and within six to eight months, we should be able to start human trials for the first vaccine.”

The country also has herbal remedies like Covidex, Covilyce-1 and UBV-01N which are either already in use as supportive treatment for Covid-19 or are still being studied.