Kenya will receive genomic sequencing support from the UK to fight COVID-19, which is on the rise in the East African nation. 

In a statement Thursday, the British High Commission in Kenya said Kenya will receive the support through the UK’s New Variant Assessment Platform Programme (NVAP) as part of the Kenya-UK Health Partnership.

Kenya’s Health Minister Mutahi Kagwe said “the contribution and support from the UK on genomic sequencing will assist in the response to the current pandemic and will help us fight future pandemics together.”

The British High Commissioner to Kenya, Jane Marriott, for her part said: “Our health partnership with Kenya is over 30 years old. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, this relationship has been incredibly strong.”

“Kenyan and British scientists at KEMRI [Kenya Medical Research Institute] and Oxford University were closely involved in the development of the AstraZeneca vaccine. Now we will share our expertise to work together in identifying, tracking and responding to new variants with Kenya, saving lives here and around the world. No one is safe until everyone is safe.”

Kenya and the UK have long supported each other in different avenues, the UK has aided Kenya in the past in providing supplies and supporting health systems in areas of family planning, nutrition, and maternal and newborn health.

The aid includes support to Kenya through the Global Vaccine Alliance (GAVI) and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFATM).

Last year, the UK announced funding of £1.3 million (177 million Kenyan shillings) to support a series of studies that will help monitor, understand and inform the COVID-19 response in Kenya.

The initiative, led by the KEMRI-Wellcome Trust Research Programme, together with the Kenyan Ministry of Health, will enable scientists in Kenya to measure COVID-19 antibody prevalence among blood donors, attendees at antenatal care clinics and among health care workers.

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