A Chinese state-owned vaccine developer has obtained regulatory approval to test its coronavirus vaccines in the United Arab Emirates, making it one of the first in a series of global efforts to get the green light for the final stage of human trials.
Beijing-based China National Biotec Group Co. on Tuesday received approval to conduct Phase III trials of its Covid-19 vaccines in the Middle East country, the company said in a statement published in its official WeChat account.
CNBG said it will partner with Abu Dhabi-based artificial intelligence and cloud computing company G42 to carry out the trial and local production of the vaccine. He did not reveal details such as the timing or the number of people he plans to sign up for the tests.
Rapidly developing vaccine programs around the world are moving to the final stage of testing before they are approved for inoculation for the general public.
Pharmaceutical companies around the world are competing to be the first to find an effective vaccine against the new coronavirus, which has infected more than 9.2 million people and killed more than 476,000.
CNBG is the first Chinese vaccine developer to conduct a Phase III trial to assess whether the two injections it developed are effective against the pathogen.
Chinese companies have had to search for locations with active virus outbreaks to complete the final stage of human testing, which requires thousands of people.
The low number of cases in China has made it unfeasible for them to conduct such trials at home. The UAE continues to add hundreds of cases a day, totaling more than 45,000 infections.
Chinese biotech CanSino Biologics Inc. was approved last month to conduct human tests for the vaccine it co-developed with the Chinese military in Canada, but will have to redo the first safety studies before entering the Phase III trial. .
Beijing-based Sinovac Biotech Ltd. partnered with the Butantan Institute to implement the test shot at 9,000 people in Brazil’s hot spot, but has not yet obtained approval to proceed.
Vaccine candidates from companies outside of China are also heading for Phase III trials. A shot jointly developed by the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca Plc will be tested among 2,000 people in Brazil starting this month.
Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Moderna Inc. will begin testing its injection next month in a trial of 30,000 people in the United States.
The two shots developed by CNBG have already been tested among some 2,000 people in phase I and II trials conducted in China.
One of the vaccines has been found to be generally safe, while details of the other will be revealed on June 28.
The injections have already been administered to more than 1,000 employees, including CNBG’s senior executives and its parent company.
Employees of Chinese state-owned companies are also said to have been offered voluntary CNBG vaccines if they travel abroad for work or live in high-risk areas in Beijing, which has recently seen a new virus outbreak.
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