UAE - The Phase III clinical trials for Covid-19 vaccine is "very critical" and so far, "no serious side effects" have been reported in the UAE, a senior health official has said.
Dr Nawal Ahmed Al Kaabi, principal investigator of the Phase III clinical trials, noted the trials, which started in mid-July, will assess the effectiveness of the vaccine.
"Phase III usually precedes the approval and manufacturing of the vaccine. So, this is a very critical phase in which we test the safety and the efficaczy of the vaccine among thousands of volunteers of different ages, nationalities and ethnic groups," Dr Nawal told Khaleej Times during an interview at Adnec walk-in centre as the UAE announced 15,000 vaccinated volunteers.
Dr Nawal noted so far, the Phase III clinical trials are proving to be a success.
"We check if anyone has any side effects because of the vaccine. So far, there has been no serious side effects reported," said Dr Nawal, who is also the chief medical officer at Sheikh Khalifa Medical City and the chairperson of the National Covid-19 Clinical Management Committee.
She recollected that the preclinical stage of vaccine being tested on animals, and Phase I and II on humans were successful in China.
"We are testing two different strains of vaccines and a placebo. Phase I and II showed that the side effects weren't different between vaccines versus placebo, which is very good. Almost 100 per cent of the volunteers formed antibodies about two weeks after the second dose."
Now in the Phase III, the effectiveness of the vaccine will be known by measuring the antibodies in a volunteer after 14 days of taking the second dose. Also, volunteers who took vaccines and placebo will be checked for Covid-19 cases.
Once the second dose, which is done 21 days after the first dose, is administered on all the volunteers and the study is complete, there will be tests done after one, three, six, nine and 12 months to check for antibodies.
"We haven't reached the stage yet to measure the antibodies. It's too early to say when we will do the analysis," Dr Nawal added.
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