UAE company nears end of Chinese Covid-19 vaccine trial

ABU DHABI (Reuters) - A United Arab Emirates company is nearing the end of Phase III clinical trials of a Chinese COVID-19 vaccine and is hoping to manufacture it next year, a representative said.
The study, which began in mid-July, is a partnership between Sinopharm's China National Biotec Group (CNBG) and Abu Dhabi-based artificial intelligence and cloud computing company Group 42 (G42).
The vaccine uses an inactivated virus; A well-known technology that has been used against diseases such as influenza and measles. Two doses are given.
It has been given to more than 31,000 people in the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Bahrain, and Jordan, according to Ashish Koshy, CEO of G42 Healthcare.
The analysis and publication of the results will take place in about two months, Koshy said.
He said G42 has distribution and manufacturing agreements with Sinopharm and hopes to provide the UAE and other regional states with the vaccine, especially those who participated in the study.
The goal is to produce between 75 and 100 million cans in the UAE next year, he said.
"Initial results show that it is safe, there is an overall increase in antibodies for all volunteers," Koshy said. "It's on the move in terms of effectiveness, but only time will tell in terms of the bigger picture."
Emirati volunteer Wo'oud al-Motawaa was vaccinated about two months ago and returned to the facility in the emirate of Abu Dhabi for one of her follow-up visits.
"I work in a hospital so we wanted to help," she said. "We trust our country."
According to the G42, the diversity of the UAE's population was beneficial, boasting around 200 different nationalities. Koshy said around 125 nationalities had participated so far.
In the United Arab Emirates, which hits 101,000 infections and 435 deaths, the number of new coronavirus cases every day has risen from 164 on August 3 in the past two months to a high of 1,231 cases last week.
The United Arab Emirates has a high per capita rate of COVID-19 testing after more than 10 million tests were performed in a population of around 9.9 million, according to the state statistics agency.

(Reporting by Jacob Greaves; writing by Lisa Barrington; editing by Alexandra Hudson)
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