United Arab Emirates and China launch phase 3 human clinical trial for Covid-19 vaccine

The launch is another development in the race to find a scientific solution to the pandemic.

The trial agreement, announced Wednesday, was signed by UAE-based cloud computing and artificial intelligence company G42 and the Sinopharm Group, a Chinese pharmaceutical company and affiliate of CNBG.

Drug makers worldwide are working to find a coronavirus vaccine. It is not yet clear if or when a vaccine will be available to the public, but researchers hope to produce one in early 2021.

Vaccines have to go through multiple-phase tests to ensure they are effective and safe, and that they generally take years to develop.

Clinical development generally takes three phases according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. USA Small groups of people receive the test vaccine in Phase 1. In Phase 2, the group receiving the vaccine expands to include people who have characteristics similar to those for which the new vaccine is intended.

A Phase 3 test can be a turning point. It is usually used to evaluate the effectiveness of a vaccine in humans. It can also be used to confirm the results of Phase 1 and 2 vaccine trials on a larger sample size.

Thousands or tens of thousands of people often participate in phase 3 trials. The substantially larger number of participants in this stage helps scientists learn about the possible rare side effects of the vaccine.
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“If a vaccine is confirmed to be safe and effective throughout the entire clinical trial process, the trial is deemed successful and the vaccine enters the manufacturing phase on a large scale,” the UAE’s state news agency WAM reported.

Vaccines against coronavirus in development worldwide are in various stages of testing. According to the World Health Organization, there are 16 candidate vaccines under clinical evaluation and another 125 under preclinical evaluation.
Collaboration between the UAE and China is not the only phase 3 vaccine. Oxford University has started a Phase 3 trial on its vaccine candidate and the American company Moderna plans to start its Phase 3 trial of 30,000 participants in July. .

Many tests face an obstacle as virus levels begin to drop. The goal of Phase 3 is to vaccinate people and then see if they become naturally infected, but with lower rates of circulating virus, study subjects are less likely to be exposed to the virus in the first place.

And while scientists remain optimistic about the eventual development of a vaccine, there is no guarantee that one will be found.

Jacqueline Howard contributed to this report from Atlanta.