Saudi Arabia to get German COVID-19 vaccine; Signs agreement

By Rahul Vaimal, Associate Editor
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CureVac Vaccine
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Saudi Arabia has signed an agreement with a German company to supply and distribute COVID-19 vaccine in the country.

Saudi Pharmaceutical Industries and Medical Appliances Corporation (SPIMACO) stated that it has inked an agreement with CureVac, a biopharmaceutical company headquartered in Tübingen, Germany.

Under the contract, SPIMACO will seek the requisite permissions from the Ministry of Health and the Saudi Food and Drug Authority (SFDA) to comply with the vaccine distribution necessities. CureVac vaccine had successfully completed the first phase of its clinical trials in early November.

The findings of trial showed an improvement in virus-neutralizing antibodies in all participants who took the dose. More than 90 percent of patients were shown to have developed antibodies against both the receptors and the COVID-19 spike protein and the company’s chief executive officer said extensive clinical trials would begin by the end of the year.

CureVac aims to submit its vaccine for approval to the European Medicines Agency in the first quarter of 2021. According to reports, the European Union agreed to pay $11.84 per dose for an initial supply of 225 million CureVac vaccine doses.

The agreement includes the possibility of extending distribution rights to the UAE, Kuwait, Bahrain and Oman. The decision is part of the steps taken by the Saudi government to combat the spread of COVID-19.

Abdullah Al-Assiri, assistant deputy minister for preventive health said, “The government had previously signed an agreement to receive early supplies of two or three different vaccines that were in the final stages of their clinical trials. Saudi Arabia will be one of the first countries to receive the vaccines.”

Saudi health authorities have already announced plans to provide free vaccines by the end of 2021 to 70 percent of people who have not contracted the virus.