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.
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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 and a unit of China National Pharmaceutical Group (Sinopharm) have already been approved for Phase III trials overseas.
Saudi Arabia is one of the Middle East countries severely hit by the pandemic, where the number of new cases reported daily maintains at around 1,500, although the situation has tended to stabilise after peaking in May and June.
According to Worldometer, the country has 288,690 confirmed cases, with a death toll of 3,167 and 252,039 have recovered.
The anti-Covid-19 cooperation between China and Saudi Arabia has started ever since the epidemic broke out.
According to an agreement signed between the two countries in April, China is to supply the necessary equipment, materials and expertise to conduct 9 million Covid-19 tests, which involves about $265 million.
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