By Gavin Gibbon
Five thousand people across the kingdom to take part in trials for vaccine developed by China's CanSino Biologics Inc.
Some 5,000 people in Saudi Arabia are set to take part in phase III clinical trials for a potential vaccine against Covid-19, according to the kingdom’s Ministry of Health.
The vaccine has been developed by CanSino Biologics and has already completed first and second phase trials in the company’s native China.
The first phase of the study involved testing the vaccine on 108 volunteers in China in March and included three different doses – low, medium and high.
Phase II saw the vaccine tested on 603 volunteers in China in April and included two different doses - low and medium.
The statement from the Ministry of Health said: “These two stages have proven high efficiency of the vaccine, with the emergence of Covid-19 antibodies in the volunteers' plasma, and good immune responses. There were only a few side effects, especially with low vaccine doses.”
The third phase will include multi-centre clinical studies in the kingdom on a minimum of 5,000 healthy participants above the age of 18 years, who will be divided into two groups: The first will be given a low dose of the vaccine; the second will be given a placebo.
Trials, which are to be launched “soon” according to the statement, are to be conducted in three main cities: Riyadh, Dammam, and Makkah, in four health clusters. Clusters are: the first health cluster in Riyadh, the second health cluster in Riyadh, the third health cluster in Eastern Province, and the first health cluster in Makkah.