Abu Dhabi-based G42 Healthcare announced on Tuesday that it would extend the Phase III trials of its coronavirus vaccine to Bahrain volunteers.
The trials are the world’s first Phase III trials of an inactivated COVID-19 vaccine, a term referring to the use of virus particles that can no longer produce more disease in a vaccine. Phase III trials expand research previously conducted on a new medicine and give the drug to a larger group of people than earlier clinical phases with the aim of testing for safety.
The expansion to Bahrain will be the third center for the testing of the vaccine, as trials are still ongoing in the UAE at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre in Abu Dhabi and Al Qarain Health Center in Sharjah.
In a statement, G42 said that new phase of the trials, known as the #4Humanity campaign, represents an ongoing collaboration between the public health bodies of the UAE and Bahrain in combatting the disease. Up to 6,000 volunteers are being sought at the new Bahrain center.
“It was always part of our original plan to open several centers to ensure the broadest impact and opportunity for individuals to participate and join the 4Humanity campaign,” G42 Healthcare CEO Ashish Koshy said in the statement.
“There has been a hugely enthusiastic response from the Ministry of Health and other public health bodies in Bahrain to work with us on the trials and to encourage their communities to volunteer in the trials,” he added.
The trials began in Abu Dhabi on July 16 and are being managed by G42 Healthcare in partnership with the Department of Health - Abu Dhabi, the UAE Ministry of Health and Prevention (MoHAP), and Abu Dhabi Health Services Company (SEHA).
Sinopharm CNBG, a Chinese-based pharmaceutical company and the sixth largest vaccine producer in the world, developed the vaccine.
Last week, it was announced that the program had already reached over 5,000 volunteers in the UAE. The Phase III trials followed Sinopharm’s successful Phase I and II stages in China. According to G42, 100 percent of the volunteers in the trials generated COVID-19 antibodies after two doses of the trial vaccine in 28 days.
The new center in Bahrain is set to operate for six to 12 months and is open to volunteers aged 18 to 60 living in the country who are available for follow-ups throughout the trial.