Ghana rolls out COVID-19 vaccine trial …conducts Sputnik Light test on 1,000 in Shai Osu Doku, Kassena- Nankana, others

Ghana will on June 28, 2021 commence trial on the “Sputnik Light Vaccine,” a single dose shot developed by the Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology in Russia.

The single-dose shot after successful trial by January 2022, would be enough to trigger strong immune response efficiency and serve as an effective tool for many countries which are experiencing a peak of the COVID-19.

The slimmed down vaccine is expected to be tested on 1000 community members from the Shai Osu Doku and Ningo Prampram municipalities in the Greater Accra Region and the Kassena-Nankana Municipal in the Upper East Region.

This was disclosed when the Dodowa Health Research Centre on Wednesday engaged stakeholders on the trial of the vaccine in Accra.

Dr Alberta Amu, Principal Investigator for the Sputnik Light Project, said the goal of the trial was to assess the safety, efficacy, tolerability and immunogenicity of the vaccine against disease and, similarly give the country a voice in the outside world.

She said the vaccine was created on a proven adenoviral vectors platform and had no element of triggering coronavirus.

Dr Amu said participants in the trials would be screened, vaccinated and observed for about 42 days with daily phone call follow-ups post -vaccination for 21 days.

“The follow-up is to monitor progress and ensure there are no complications,” she stated.

Criteria for selection, she indicated was a non COVID-19 person with no underlining condition, a non-vaccinated person with a COVID-19 vaccine or any other vaccine and most importantly the participants should at least be 18 years or above.

“Participants would have insurance cover – health and life – for the period of the study, reimbursement for transport and time used in attending the clinic,” she stated.

She tasked participants of the engagement to spread the good news before the start of the trial to ensure a successful study.

Dr John William, Director of the Dodowa Health Research Centre, underscored the importance of conducting trials on vaccines before use.

That he said gives the participant country the ability to know how the vaccines were developed and whether it is safe for use.

For him, Ghana’s inability to participate in trial phase of AstraZeneca led to some misconception theories of its efficacy leading to some questions from Ghanaians as to whether the vaccine was safe for use.

“Clinical trials help answer questions about a vaccine’s safety and efficacy, stating vaccine trials are critical to the success of a vaccine,” he said.

Giving some background, Dr William said in 1776, Edward Jenner developed the first successful smallpox vaccination in Berkley, England by taking pus from a lesion on a patient’s hand and inoculating an eight-year-old boy.

Since then, vaccines have proven to prevent infectious disease like influenza and smallpox across the globe, adding that over the years, vaccine clinical trials have shown to be one of the most critical aspects of vaccine development.

BY BENEDICTA GYIMAAH FOLLEY

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