UAE says Chinese-made coronavirus vaccine 86% effective, but few details on data

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The United Arab Emirates said Wednesday a Chinese coronavirus vaccine tested in the federation of sheikhdoms is 86% effective, in a statement that provided few details but marked the first public release of information on the efficacy of the shot.

The UAE, home to Dubai and Abu Dhabi, conducted a trial beginning in September of the vaccine by Chinese state-owned pharmaceutical giant Sinopharm involving 31,000 volunteers from 125 nations. Volunteers between 18 and 60 years old received two doses of the vaccine over 28 days.

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The UAE’s Health and Prevention Ministry announced the results via a statement on the state-run WAM news agency, saying they “have reviewed Sinopharm CNBG’s interim analysis of the Phase III trials.”

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“The analysis shows no serious safety concerns,” the statement said, without detailing whether any participant suffered side effects.

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It wasn’t immediately clear if the announced results included only those taking part in the testing in the UAE or if they also include results from China and elsewhere. The statement described the vaccine as receiving “official registration” without elaborating on what that meant. Emirati officials and Sinopharm did not be immediately respond to questions from The Associated Press.

The Sinopharm vaccine has been approved for emergency use in a few countries and the company is still conducting late-stage clinical trials in 10 countries. Morocco is gearing up for an ambitious COVID-19 vaccination program, aiming to vaccinate 80% of its adults in an operation starting this month that’s relying initially on the Sinopharm vaccine.

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Sinopharm’s shot relies on a tested technology, using a killed virus to deliver the vaccine, similar to how polio immunizations are made. Leading Western competitors use newer, less-proven technology to target the coronavirus’ spike protein using RNA.

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Top officials in the UAE, including Dubai’s ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, have publicly receive the shots as part of the vaccine testing.

Associated Press writer Huizhong Wu in Taipei, Taiwan, contributed to this report.

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