CanSino to start Phase III trial of COVID-19 vaccine in Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia plans to test the vaccine alongside a placebo on 5,000 volunteers

  
Chinese vaccine maker CanSino Biologics' sign is pictured on its building in Tianjin, China November 20, 2018. Picture taken November 20, 2018. REUTERS/Stringer

Chinese vaccine maker CanSino Biologics' sign is pictured on its building in Tianjin, China November 20, 2018. Picture taken November 20, 2018. REUTERS/Stringer

DUBAI- Saudi Arabia will soon begin Phase III clinical trials on around 5,000 people for a COVID-19 vaccine developed by China's CanSino Biologics Inc 6185.HK , a Saudi health ministry spokesman said on Sunday.

Last month, CanSino's co-founder said the company was in talks with Russia, Brazil, Chile and Saudi Arabia to launch a Phase III trial of the vaccine candidate, Ad5-nCOV.

The vaccine uses a harmless cold virus known as adenovirus type-5 (Ad5) to carry genetic material from the coronavirus into the body.

Researchers said last month that CanSino's vaccine, co-developed with China's military research unit, appeared to be safe and induced immune responses in most subjects. 

Saudi Arabia plans to test the vaccine alongside a placebo on 5,000 volunteers and is currently preparing trials in the cities of Riyadh, Dammam and Mecca, Saudi state news agency SPA said on Saturday.

No COVID-19 vaccine has been approved for commercial use.

CanSino's candidate became the first in China to move into human testing in March but other potential vaccines developed by Sinovac Biotech SVA.O and a unit of China National Pharmaceutical Group (Sinopharm) have already been approved for Phase III trials overseas.

(Reporting by Nafisa Eltahir; Writing by Yousef Saba; editing by David Evans) ((Yousef.Saba@thomsonreuters.com; +971562166204))

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