The Health Ministry of the United Arab Emirates has registered an experimental coronavirus vaccine produced by China National Pharmaceutical Group (Sinopharm), after late-stage clinical trials showed it had 86 percent efficacy.
The Ministry of Health and Prevention (MOHAP) said Wednesday the authorities had considered the application from Sinopharm, and the registration of the vaccine was a significant vote of confidence in its safety and efficacy.
MOHAP and Department of Health Abu Dhabi had reviewed Sinopharm’s interim analysis of the phase-three trials, saying it shows Beijing Institute of Biological Products’ inactivated vaccine has 86 percent efficacy against Covid-19 infection.
The analysis shows a “99 percent seroconversion rate of neutralizing antibodies and 100 percent effectiveness in preventing moderate and severe cases of the disease,” according to the ministry. It added that no serious safety concerns were reported during the trials.
MOHAP had already granted this vaccine – developed by the Beijing Institute of Biological Product, a unit of Sinopharm’s China National Biotec Group (CNBG) – emergency use authorization back in September, to safeguard frontline health workers in the country.
The phase-three trials included 31,000 volunteers representing 125 nationalities in the UAE. Post-authorization safety and efficacy studies also show similar safety and efficacy profiles to the interim analysis, according to officials.
Sinopharm uses an inactivated virus to trigger immune responses, which is reportedly unable to replicate human cells, and the vaccine requires two doses.
The trials in the UAE, a country of around nine million, are being conducted by CNBG; artificial intelligence Group 42, based in the capital Abu Dhabi; and the Abu Dhabi Department of Health. Sinopharm and Group 42 have also held trials in Egypt, Jordan, and Bahrain.
This week, the Abu Dhabi authorities also invited volunteers to take part in clinical trials of Sputnik V, Russia’s Covid-19 vaccine.
The UAE has so far recorded 178,837 infections and 596 deaths from Covid-19, while the total number of recoveries stands at 160,295.