The government is set to fund seven local universities to undertake research on Covid-19.
Among the universities set for state funding are Mount Kenya University (MKU), Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT), Egerton University, University of Nairobi (UoN), Kenyatta University (KU), Pwani University and Multimedia University whose research proposals have been approved by the State.
National Research Fund (NRF) approved the varsities proposals from a pool of 350 research suggestions submitted to it following a call from the government which in April last year.
The government had sought their help to tackle the deadly disease that has weighed down social-economic life of Kenyans and people across globe.
In a statement, NRF said its experts subjected the proposals to a rigorous peer review process and evaluation.
Among the beneficiaries of the government funding is Dr. Peter Kirira from MKU and whose concept notes impressed the vetting team.
Dr. Kirira’s research proposal sought to undertake findings on development of Immune Regulatory Supplements from Indigenous Edible Herbs and Vegetables for Prevention and Management of Covid-19.
On the other hand, KUAT Dons Muturi Njoka and Dr Wallace Karuguti impressed the NRF experts in their research proposal whose focus is on development and Validation of a Low Cost, Rapid, and Ultrasensitive Next Generation Biosensor to Detect Covid-19 Infection and Outcomes and Feasibility of an Evidence-Based Rehabilitation Program for Controlling Morbidity, Enhancing Immunity and Physical Function for People with Severe Covid-19 in Kenya respectively.
Others are Prof Isabel Wagara and Prof Micah Chepchieng, both from Egerton University with a research proposal on “Herbal Covid-19 Antiviral Interventions from Local Medicinal Plants and their Endophytes in Kenya” and “Enhancing Mental Health and Psychosocial Support to Address Effects of Covid-19 among Primary and Secondary School Learners in Kenya” respectively.
Dr Joseph Mghalu of Pwani University will undertake a finding on Functional Food Products from Activated Edible Mushrooms to Mitigate SARS-Like Conditions.”
Others are Dr Meshack Onyambu and Dr John Paul Oyore of KU who will be researching on “Safety and Efficacy of Potential Herbal Formulations and Standardization for Integration into Covid-19 Prevention and Management in Kenya” and on “Parameters for the Proper Use of Face Masks to Reduce Severity of Underlying Infections for Enhanced Tolerance to Covid-19” respectively.
At UoN, Prof Julius Oyugi will undertake a finding on development of a “Point of Care Covid-19 Test, Modeling of Case Management and Simulations of Covid-19 Interventions.”
In their statement, NRF indicated that proposals on cancer research and desert locust’s invasion were also made in the 34 responses that were submitted towards cancer research and another 83 to address the challenge of desert locusts.
22 research proposals were approved for government funding on cancer and another 16 for desert locust’s invasion.