China-based pharmaceutical company Sinopharm has initiated a Phase III clinical trial to assess its Covid-19 vaccine candidate in Abu Dhabi, UAE.

The candidate is said to be the world’s first inactivated vaccine to enter a Phase III trial.

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This trial is being conducted by Sinopharm’s China National Biotec Group (CNBG) in alliance with the Abu Dhabi Government and Abu Dhabi-based artificial intelligence company G42 Healthcare.

Health practitioners from Abu Dhabi Health Services (SEHA) will manage the trial. A mobile clinic is also being operated to ensure easy access to participants.

Sinopharm selected UAE for the Phase III trials as the nation houses more than 200 nationalities, noted G42.

Sinopharm CNBG Biological products president Jingjin Zhu said: “The United Arab Emirates is a nation of innovation and tolerance, that is home to individuals from every part of the world and ethnic background.

“We will work closely with our partner to complete this clinical trial successfully, and make this vaccine available to the people in need worldwide.”

The UAE has authorised the participation of up to 15,000 volunteers in the trials. G42 and SEHA intend to enrol at least 5,000 volunteers aged 18 to 60 years in the first stage.

Abu Dhabi Department of Health (DoH) chairman Sheikh Abdullah bin Mohammed Al Hamed and DoH acting undersecretary Dr Jamal Alkaabi have volunteered to take part in the trial.

G42 Healthcare CEO Ashish Koshy said: “Using our AI solutions, super-computer, advanced diagnostics solutions for Covid-19, G42 Healthcare is uniquely postured to conduct these trials. G42 Healthcare will be responsible for running clinical operations for this trial.

“We will be leveraging our group’s technical and our own business capabilities to: compute, correlate and provide fast and synthesized insights by deploying multiple AI models on the data generated during the trials to accelerate the much awaiting results.”

Sinopharm already completed Phase I and Phase II trials of the Covid-19 vaccine candidate in China.