Health

Vaccine trials spark protests

BY PETER SICHALI

THE approval of clinical trials of Ivermectin, a vaccine for animals, as an anti-parasitic drug for the treatment and prevention of Covid-19 by the Zambia Medicines Regulatory Authority (ZAMRA) has been received with mixed feelings.

Stakeholders have questioned why a vaccine meant for livestock should be administered on humans.

This follows the decision by ZAMRA to allow clinical trials to study the efficacy of the drug which is already under study in neighbouring Zimbabwe and other countries.

Ivermectin will be used in approved clinical trials where participants will be closely monitored and generated evidence shall inform policy on the prevention or treatment of Covid-19; after which the public will be informed of the outcomes.

Former Pharmaceutical Society of Zambia president Jerome Kanyika said the Food and Drug Authority of the United States of America had warned against the use of Ivermectin to treat Covid-19 after results indicated that the drug was not effective in curing the pandemic.

“The Food and Drug Authority of the USA has warned against the use of Ivermectin to treat Covid-19 and that evidence showed the drug cannot cure the coronavirus,” Mr Kanyika said.

He said there was no connection between bacteria and a virus.

And Zambia Jubilee Coalition secretary general Kwaela Mwanza said ZAMRA could have based their decision on clinical trials that have been done in other countries.

“They should have waited for trial results from other countries since they have already started,” Mr Mwanza said.

Meanwhile, the Zambian DNA said there was need for more research before administering the animal vaccines on human beings.

Zambian DNA spokesperson, Spuki Mulemwa said in as much as efforts to find the vaccine for Covid-19 were welcome, there was need to take calculated steps so as not to endanger human life.

ZAMRA Senior Public Relations Officer Christabel Mutale Iliamupu said in a statement that the decision to undertake the study comes after the continued monitoring of developments by ZAMRA regarding the use of Ivermectin for the treatment and prevention of Covid-19 adopted by some countries in the SADC region.

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