Russian coronavirus vaccine trials to be held in Saudi Arabia

(Arab News photo/Basher Saleh)
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Saudi Arabia is set to play a key role in the development of a Russian COVID-19 vaccine that produced promising results in the first phase of human trials.

The monthlong trial on 38 people ended this week, and a 100-person Phase II trial is underway.

Kirill Dmitriev, CEO of the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), said the Kingdom could be part of Phase III, involving thousands of people, which is expected to begin in August.

“We are not only discussing the third stage of clinical trials of the Russian vaccine in Saudi Arabia,” said Dmitriev on Thursday.

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“The Saudis have already bought our drug Avifavir, and we are also discussing with Saudi Arabia the production of the Russian vaccine on its territory.”

Avifavir is a drug used to treat severe forms of influenza, which has proven effective in clinical trials for treating COVID-19.

Saudi authorities also recently bought supplies of COVID-19 testing kits from Russia.

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