An experimental coronavirus vaccine developed by China National Pharmaceutical Group (Sinopharm) has an efficacy of 86%, the United Arab Emirates Ministry of Health said on Wednesday, citing an interim analysis of late-stage clinical trials.
While the positive data comes soon after the upbeat results of last month from Western competitors, such as Pfizer Inc, Moderna, AstraZeneca Plc and Russia, neither the UAE nor Sinopharm has published detailed data from the pivotal study.
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Phase III clinical trials of the vaccine, produced by the Beijing Institute of Biological Substance, a unit of Sinopharm’s China National Biotec Division, began in July in the Gulf Arab State (CNBG).
In September, the first such foreign approval for a vaccine produced in China allowed emergency use of the vaccine for some categories.
The report also showed “99pc seroconversion rate of antibody neutralisation and 100pc efficacy in the prevention of moderate and severe disease cases,” the ministry said in a statement released by the state news agency.
“The analysis does not demonstrate any serious safety concerns,” it added.
It also reported that the vaccine was officially registered without being produced, and that 31,000 volunteers from 125 nationalities participated in the UAE trial.
It did not mention what if any, side effects it found, how many people got sick, or how many volunteers took the vaccine or placebo.
CNBG could not be contacted for comment immediately.
A vaccine that uses an inactivated virus that is unable to replicate human cells in order to cause immune responses requires two doses, as has been demonstrated from previous trial results.
The UAE trial is a collaboration between CNBG, Group 42 (G42) of the Abu Dhabi-based artificial intelligence firm, and the Department of Health of Abu Dhabi.
Sinopharm and G42 have both extended the trial to Egypt, Jordan and Bahrain.
This week, Abu Dhabi, the capital of the UAE, said it was recruiting volunteers to participate in clinical trials of the Russian vaccine Covid-19, known as Sputnik V.
The UAE has confirmed 178,837 infections and 596 deaths from the disease, with a population of about nine million.
The vaccine is among China’s three most innovative development candidates and has been used to vaccinate nearly one million people in the world under its emergency use policy.