When Raphael Nyaruaba got a scholarship to study in China, he knew he was just part of hundreds of lucky Kenyan students training under the Sino-Africa Joint Research Centre, Beijing’s programme to enhance science research cooperation.
But, somehow, he expected that the nature of his profession — medical microbiology — would one day plunge him in the middle of a health emergency.
Since the start of January, Mr Nyaruaba, an alumnus of the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT), has been part of a group of dedicated researchers poring over coronavirus, to learn how to tame it.
The virus, whose emergency was confirmed early this month, has seen Wuhan City — the headquarters of China’s Hebei province — on a lockdown as authorities try to prevent it from spreading elsewhere.
The authorities are centred at Wuhan Institute of Virology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and Mr Nyaruaba is on the team trying to get answers for the scientific community there.
“I wasn’t deployed but I am studying. When asked to help, we all answered the call,” he told the Nation by phone.
“It is the least we can do,” he said referring to the work at the Institute which has become the main reference centre of the province and the entire China.