Founder of KEMRI who is facing jail term~Dr Davy Koech
Dr. Davy Kiprotich Koech is an award winning researcher who is amongst the longest serving heads of State Corporations in the country. He was thrust into the public eye thanks to the invention of KEMRON, a drug he claimed could cure HIV/AIDS. It did not long before the World Health Organization (WHO) rubbished the invention.
Dr. Koech has previously worked as a research assistant at Wellcome Trust and WHO Immunology Research and Training Center. He has worked with a number of international researchers and has over 270 publications to his name. His name remains amongst the 500 greatest geniuses of the 21st century.
The distinguished researcher attended Soliat Primary School then proceeded to Sototwet Intermediate School where he sat for KAPE- Kenya African Preliminary Education. He then got his Kenya Preliminary Education (KPE) certificate at Cheribo Primary School.
After Primary, he went to Kericho High School where he sat for his O levels. He then went to Strathmore college where he sat for his University of London, General Certificate of education, A-level.
Coming from a humble background that was unable to afford basic needs at times, he wanted to abandon school. Nonetheless, he persevered and went on to university where he was involved in the research of Endemic Goitre way before graduating from university.
He got a Bachelor of Science Degree in Chemistry and Zoology from the University of Nairobi in April 1974, and a Master of Science degree in Pharmacology specializing in Clinical Pharmacology at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA.
In the early 70s, Kenya did not have a research institute and the University of Nairobi was reluctant to start one. He joined hands with Prof. Kihumbu Thairu and Prof. Mutuma Mugambi to initiate the establishment of a premier research institution by lobbying for the amendment of the science and technology act of 1977 by parliament.
In 1979, a bill was passed in parliament that led to the creation of research institutions in the country. KEMRI was thus born and Koech was appointed the chief researcher at the Institute before being promoted to CEO in 1989.
Working with Dr. Artha Obel, the research they had conducted into the treatment of HIV/AIDS and other viral infections thrust him into the limelight. Dr. Koech claimed the drug KEMRON was a cure for HIV/AIDS but the innovation was disapproved.
In a recent appearance on KTN, he said some people spread false information and did not give them a chance to explain. He says that soon he would prove them wrong and be vindicated about three decades later.
He worked at KEMRI until 2007 when he was relieved of his duties setting the record as one of the longest serving CEOs of a state organization.
In August 2006, he was charged with three counts of corruption. They were: fraudulently acquiring kshs800,000 Kenyan, irregularly acquiring ksh6 million and another ksh12.5 million from KEMRI.
The former KEMRI boss admits that in the course of his career, he made mistakes in order to fit into the system. Mistakes he admits he has paid for. The experienced researcher also added that he learnt a lot while working at KEMRi.