Saudi Arabia starts third phase of COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial

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The Saudi Ministry of Health announced the implementation of a clinical trial of a vaccine against coronavirus, as part of the cooperation agreement with China.

An action plan is currently being developed to implement a phase III clinical trial of a vaccine against coronavirus, in cooperation with a Chinese pharmaceutical company, which developed a vaccine and carried out experiments for phase I and phase II in China.

Phase I trial included a trial on 108 volunteers in China from March 16 to 27, with three low, medium and high doses. The phase II trial included a trial of the vaccine on 603 volunteers from April 11 to 16, with two different low and medium doses.

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The two phases showed the vaccine was highly effective, with the appearance of antibodies to the virus in the volunteers’ plasma and a good immune response, while the side effects were very few, especially with the low doses. The results of the two studies have been published in the peer-reviewed scientific journal The Lancet.

The study, that will be implemented in the Kingdom, will target at least 5,000 volunteers of healthy people over the age of 18 years.

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The participants will be divided into two groups, the first will be given low doses of the vaccine, and the second group or the control group, will be given a placebo, which has no active ingredients.

The ministry indicated that work is currently underway to start clinical experiments in three main cities, namely Riyadh, Dammam and Mecca, in four health clusters.

This step comes as part of cooperation with the World Health Organisation to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, the ministry said.

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