All Africa Kenya

Kenya: Kemri Urges Lawmakers to Protect Local Medical Products From Imports

The Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI) has urged Parliament to protect locally manufactured medical products from imports.

Speaking during the launch of its products, research scientist Lucy Muita said Kenya should not be importing goods that it produces.

Scientists worked hard to develop products for fighting Covid-19 when the whole world was in lockdown, she said.

“When Covid-19 (hit), it dawned on us that over the years we have been relying on imported products. There was a complete lockdown for two weeks and we could not import anything and we were working all round to ensure we get products like the (viral transport medium),” she said.

A viral transport medium (VTM) is a solution used to preserve virus specimens after they have been collected so that they can be transported and analysed in a lab later.

Kemri is conducting flagship research projects for Covid-19 responses. They include VTM, sample testing and screening for the respiratory disease, whole genome sequencing for the virus, and point-of-care-testing (PoCT) kits.

PoCT kits allow small samples of blood, such as those taken from a finger to be tested where the patient is, such as at home or at the doctor’s office. They allow for faster testing than when samples are shipped to a central lab.

Kemri has also developed a hand sanitiser it calls KEM-Rub.

It is also conducting Covid-19 vaccine trials and testing Covid-19 drug efficacy.