In a global race to find a cure for Covid-19, Kenya has joined World Health Organization’s Solidarity Trial.
But some Catholic bishops in the East African nation are urging caution, calling on scientists to strictly follow safety procedures and standards to ensure the ordinary people do not become “guinea pigs”.
“I do not support human trials for the drugs and vaccine at the moment. They should start with animals and, when it is known they work, then the drugs can be administered on humans,” Bishop Joseph Ndembu Mbatia, chairman of the health commission of the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops, told Catholic News Service.
By 6th May, Kenya had confirmed 535 Covid-19 cases, with most of them being in low-income areas in Nairobi and Mombasa.
Kenyan scientists will join international researchers in the Solidarity Trial to determine if certain antiretroviral and antimalarial drugs could be used to treat the disease.
“We know there is a rush to find a cure for the Covid-19,” said Bishop Dominic Kimengich of Eldoret. He acknowledged the urgency, but added that tests must ensure “no-one is used as a guinea pig”.
He said trials must follow international standards and “must be applied to all people and all parts of the world”.
Medical officials from the government have sought to assure the citizens that no-one will be coerced to participate in the trials.
Picture: A young girl reacts as a Kenyan medical worker takes a swab in Nairobi on 2nd May 2020, during mass tasting to help fight the spread of Covid-19. (CNS photo/Baz Ratner, Reuters).