Vol IX, Issue 2 Date of Publication: April 21, 2024
DOI: https://doi.org/10.20529/IJME.2024.013

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The impact of Covid-19 pandemic on the research portfolio and approval turnaround time at the Kenya Medical Research Institute

Enock Kipchirchir Kebenei
Daisy Cheruiyot
Gideon Cornel Msee
James Nguya
Timothy K Kiplagat
Elizabeth A Bukusi

Background: The Covid-19 pandemic led to an unprecedented impact on many sectors globally including research. We assessed the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the research portfolio, and on the approval turnaround time for research protocols submitted to the Scientific and Ethics Review Unit (SERU), at the Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI).

Methods: We compared research protocols submitted between October 01, 2019 and March 31, 2020 (Period 1), to those submitted between April 1 and September 30, 2020 (Period 2). A document review tool was used to extract data from the 198 research protocols reviewed and approved over the two periods.

Results: In the two periods under review, the single largest percentage of protocols (89/198, 45.4%) involved infectious and parasitic diseases, and the single largest percentage of study designs was cross-sectional (75/198, 38%). Before the pandemic, the median time taken to review KEMRI-linked protocols was 87 days and for non-KEMRI linked protocols it was 121 days. During the pandemic, approval turnaround time dropped for both KEMRI and non-KEMRI protocols to 66 days and 92 days, respectively, due to the streamlined processes at the KEMRI SERU.

Conclusion: The research portfolio was minimally affected by the pandemic. The adoption of email submission, and faster-than-usual processing and review protocols during the pandemic reduced the approval turnaround time.

Copyright and license
©Indian Journal of Medical Ethics 2024: Open Access and Distributed under the Creative Commons license ( CC BY-NC-ND 4.0),
which permits only non-commercial and non-modified sharing in any medium, provided the original author(s) and source are credited.

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