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Covid vaccine on trial in UAE found safe in early stages: Study

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The Phase I and II of BBIBP-CorV vaccine for Covid-19 is found to be safe and produce an immune response, according to the latest study published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases journal.

The vaccine candidate is developed by China National Biotec Group (CNBG) and the Beijing Institute of Biological Products. The study based on Phase I and II is done by the researchers at the CNBG subsidiary, Chinese disease control authorities and other research institutes.

The study pointed out that the results of the Phase III trial of BBIBP-CorV vaccine currently underway in Abu Dhabi will provide information on whether this vaccine is safe and efficacious against SARS-CoV-2 infection, and for how long the protective effect is maintained. The human trial underway in the UAE is through a partnership between Sinopharm’s CNBG and Abu Dhabi-based Group 42 (G42) under the supervision of the Department of Health of Abu Dhabi.

Promising result for elderly

In the Phase I dose-escalating trial, the study by researchers found that the “older age group had lower rates of solicited adverse events than the younger adults: the overall rates of adverse events within 28 days after vaccination were 34 (47 per cent) of 72 participants in the group aged 18-59 years, compared with 14 (19 per cent) of 72 participants in the group aged 60 years and older”.

After taking the first shot of the vaccine, the second dose is administered after 21 days. The early Phase II trial of the BBIBP-CorV vaccine in healthy adults aged between 18 and 59 years assessed the effect of shortening the interval between two doses from 28 days to 14 days or 21 days on the vaccine’s immunogenicity. The study found that the vaccine was the most immunogenic when given at the 21-day interval, but its immunogenicity significantly decreased when the interval was reduced to 14 days, suggesting that the interval cannot be shorter than three weeks.

These results reportedly came from a combined Phase I and Phase II trial involving more than 600 healthy adults conducted between April 29 and July 30. The current study is the second to report the interim results of safety and immunogenicity of inactivated SARS-CoV-2 vaccine.

Phase 3 trials progress in UAE

The Phase 3 trials of an inactivated vaccine carried out in the UAE got 31,000 volunteers from more than 120 nationalities.

On Friday morning, Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation received a dose of the vaccine.

“Corona vaccination is our way to return to normal life,” Sheikh Abdullah said in a post shared on his official account.

It was last month that the UAE issued emergency approval for the use of the Covid-19 vaccine for frontline healthcare workers fighting the virus in the country. Earlier this week, the UAE also approved Phase III clinical trials of Russia’s Covid-19 vaccine Sputnik V.

The World Health Organization said on Friday it had had very good dialogue with developers of a second Russian vaccine candidate against Covid-19.

“We will only be able to have a position on a vaccine when we see results of phase 3 clinical trials,” WHO Chief Scientist Soumya Swaminathan told a news conference in Geneva.