7 universities to receive Govt funding for COVID-19 research

Mount Kenya University (MKU) is among seven institutions of higher learning whose COVID-19 research proposals were approved for funding.

The Government made calls for proposals and concept dons from researchers in the Country in April last year as it sought to curb the spread of the virus.

Other Universities whose proposals have been approved by the National Research Fund (NRF) include Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT), Egerton University, University of Nairobi (UoN), Kenyatta University (KU), Pwani University and Multimedia University.

Some 350 research proposals and concept notes were submitted to NRF but only 13 of them were approved.

According to NRF, the proposals and concept notes were subjected to a rigorous peer review process and evaluation by subject experts.

MKU’s Dr Peter Kirira is among other eight top researchers whose proposals and concept notes were approved for funding by the state.

Kirira’s research will focus on the “Development of Immune Regulatory Supplements from Indigenous Edible Herbs and Vegetables for Prevention and Management of COVID-19.”

JKUAT Dons Muturi Njoka and Dr Wallace Karuguti also had their proposals given a nod.

Their researches will focus 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.

Research concepts by Prof Isabel Wagara and Prof Micah Chepchieng from Egerton University were also approved.

Prof Wagara’s research will focus on development of “Herbal COVID-19 Antiviral Interventions from Local Medicinal Plants and their Endophytes in Kenya.”

Prof Chepchieng will look at “Enhancing Mental Health and Psychosocial Support to Address Effects of Covid-19 among Primary and Secondary School Learners in Kenya.

Dr Joseph Mghalu of Pwani university will research on developing “Functional Food Products from Activated Edible Mushrooms to Mitigate SARS-Like Conditions.”

Dr Meshack Onyambu and Dr John Paul Oyore of KU are also on the list with Dr Onyambu researching on “Safety and Efficacy of Potential Herbal Formulations and Standardization for Integration into Covid-19 Prevention and Management in Kenya.”

Dr Oyore on the other hand will focus on optimizing “Parameters for the Proper Use of Face Masks to Reduce Severity of Underlying Infections for Enhanced Tolerance to Covid-19.”

At UoN, Prof Julius Oyugi will research on development of a “Point of Care COVID-19 Test, Modeling of Case Management and Simulations of Covid-19 Interventions.”

At the same time NRF indicated that proposals on cancer research and desert locusts invasion were also made. 134 responses were submitted towards cancer research and another 83 to address the challenge of desert locusts.

However 22 research proposals were approved for government funding on cancer and another 16 for desert locusts invasion.


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