Chinese COVID vaccine under trial in UAE is safe: Study

By Rahul Vaimal, Associate Editor
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UAE COVID-19 Vaccine Trials
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A Chinese vaccine which is being tested in the UAE was found to be safe and developed an immune response.

The study, published in the journal called The Lancet Infectious Diseases, showed positive results from China’s Phase 1 and 2 trials with participants between the ages of 18 and 80.

Effective in the elderly

More than 31,000 volunteers in the UAE have participated in clinical Phase 3 trials of the vaccine. The results show that this vaccine, called BBIBP-CorV may be beneficial for the elderly, one of the groups most vulnerable to the COVID-19 virus.

“Protecting older people is a key aim of a successful Covid-19 vaccine as this age group is at greater risk of severe illness from the disease,” said Professor Xiaoming Yang, one of the study’s authors.

“However, vaccines are sometimes less effective in this group because the immune system weakens with age. It is therefore encouraging to see that BBIBP-CorV induces antibody responses in people aged 60 and older, and we believe this justifies further investigation.”

Between 29 April and 30 July, the vaccine’s Phase 1 and 2 tests were carried out in China and included more than 600 healthy volunteers.

The Lancet stated that the vaccine induced antibodies to prevent the virus from infecting cells in all participants within 42 days in early trials. Participants aged 60 and over were slower to react and produced lesser number of antibodies while antibodies were detected in younger participants within 28 days.

According to the report, the vaccine was well tolerated in all doses.

The vaccine was developed on the basis of an inactivated SARS-CoV-2 virus by the Beijing Institute of Biological Products associated with the state-owned China National Pharmaceutical Group (Sinopharm).

Phase 1 and 2

The study was not intended to test the success of the vaccine in preventing infection, so it is not yet known if it produces adequate antibodies to provide immunity.

Three dose levels were studied during Phase 1 in which 96 participants who belonged to the age groups between 18 to 59 years and another set of 96 participants aged 60 to 80 years took part.

Phase 2 analyzed the optimum timing for vaccination and indicated that the greatest antibody response required a booster shot which could mean that the vaccine needs to be administered twice with a few days gap.

Researchers from the Henan Provincial Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the Beijing Institute of Biological Products, the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention and other institutes in China carried out this research to detect the safety of the vaccine.

Around the world, clinical trials are under way for 42 different COVID-19 vaccines.

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