The Uganda Virus Research Institute (UVRI) has revealed that the development of the locally-made Covid-19 vaccine is in advanced stages.
The Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation Dr. Monicah Musenero on Tuesday led scientists from UVRI as they appeared before the Committee on Presidential Affairs chaired by Jesca Ababiku.
“We have reached the level where we have the product showing us that the virus can be inactivated without affecting our health,” Dr. Jennifer Serwanga, Assistant Director UVRI said.
"The next stage is purification to remove all chemicals and lead to animal trials then we move to human trials."
The development of the vaccine kicked off in 2021, however, Serwanga said that the process has faced challenges and delays accruing from restrictions on the sale of reagents and equipment used in the manufacture of vaccines to African markets.
“Some of the equipment used in the manufacture of vaccines cannot be sold to the African market so we had to partner with other organizations,” she added.
Musenero said that Uganda has for instance spent about Shs1 trillion on buying covid-19 vaccines, making case for the need to develop the vaccine locally.
“Every time we have an epidemic, we spend a lot of money; now we are saying yes the diseases are here but we can also use them as a source of money. This will be one of the biggest sources of income for the country?” she said.
Upon a request by Ababiku on the amount spent on the development of Covid-19 vaccines, Musenero said her ministry has so far received over Shs5.7 billion.