UAE begins world's first phase III clinical trial of Covid-19 vaccine
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UAE begins world’s first phase III clinical trial of Covid-19 vaccine

UAE begins world’s first phase III clinical trial of Covid-19 vaccine

If successful, the vaccine could enter the market by the end of 2020 or early 2021

Covid-19 vaccine trials

The UAE government confirmed that it has launched the world’s first phase III clinical trials of a Covid-19 inactivated vaccine on Tuesday.

Chinese pharmaceutical company Sinopharm China National Biotec Group (CNBG) and Abu Dhabi-based artificial intelligence and cloud computing company Group 42 (G42) have signed a clinical cooperation agreement towards that end.

In the UAE, G42 will take the lead in clinical trials which will in turn be monitored by the country’s Department of Health (DoH) Abu Dhabi.

If successful, the vaccine could enter the market by the end of 2020 or early 2021, reported official news agency WAM.

The clinical trial process is divided into three phases. The first phase examines the safety of the vaccine.

Phase II meanwhile evaluates immunogenicity and explores the immunisation process in a limited number of individuals.

The third phase studies the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine when introduced into a larger population sample, usually between 300-3,000 patients.

If the vaccine is confirmed to be safe and effective throughout the entire clinical trial process, it is regarded as successful and then enters into a large-scale manufacturing phase.

Sinopharm CNBG inactivated vaccine has already passed phases I and II of clinical trials without showing any serious adverse reactions, with 100 per cent of the volunteers generating antibodies after two doses in 28 days.

“Now more than ever, nations need to work in close partnership between the government and private sectors to create new initiatives, launch programs, develop policies, drive rigorous research, and develop capacity. It is for this reason that the United Arab Emirates welcomes all contributions by countries of the world, innovative entities and creative individuals who are committed to creating opportunities for joint collaboration towards confronting the threat of Covid-19 and defeating this global pandemic,” said Abdul Rahman Mohammed Al Owais, the UAE’s minister of Health and Prevention following the signing of the agreement via a video conference between officials in Abu Dhabi and Beijing.

The clinical trial is the start of a series of national initiatives to enhance the UAE’s medical research and development capabilities, including the building of local capacity to manufacture the vaccine.

“This partnership highlights the UAE’s broad multifaceted approach to combating the virus, which includes innovative research into effective treatments, enhanced testing capabilities, and continuous cooperation with the international community. The UAE will spare no effort in contributing to solutions to the current pandemic, solutions that will aid humanity’s ability to overcome the current pandemic,” said Sheikh Abdullah bin Mohammed Al Hamed, chairman of the DoH.

As of June 23, the UAE has reported a total 45,683 infections, of which 33,703 patients have made a full recovery.

Read: GCC Covid-19 update: UAE reports 380 cases, 2 deaths; Oman registers 1,318 infections, 3 fatalities

It has also reported 305 fatalities as a result of the virus.

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