Coronavirus: Saudi Arabia starts third phase of COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial

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Saudi Arabia will start the third phase of a clinical trial for a coronavirus vaccine in cooperation with China’s vaccine developing company CanSino, the Kingdom’s Ministry of Health said on Saturday.

The trial will target 5,000 healthy volunteers in Saudi Arabia over the age of 18 years old, and the ministry is currently working on preparing to launch operations in three main cities: Riyadh, Dammam, and Mecca.

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The first and second phases of the clinical trial of the Ad5-nCOV potential vaccine were conducted in China.

The first phase conducted between 16-27 March included 108 volunteers, and the second phase conducted between 11-16 April involved 603 volunteers.

CanSino’s vaccine uses a modified common cold virus to carry genetic material from the coronavirus into the human body. It elicits antibody and T-cell immune responses and did not prompt any serious side effects.

Saudi clinical trials

The Kingdom’s health authorities and organizations have been conducting their own coronavirus clinical trials.

King Abdullah International Medical Research Center (KAIMRC) had invited in July Saudi hospitals to participate in several COVID-19 clinical trials approved by the Saudi Food and Drug Authority (SFDA).

The first study “Avi Mild 19” involves the drug favipiravir which was manufactured in Japan and used in cases of mild illness, according to SPA.

The second was labelled “FACT”, involving a combination of favipiravir and the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine.

The third is based on convalescent plasma and the fourth is a comparative study to assess the efficacy of each of the different coronavirus treatment protocols.

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