A coronavirus vaccine made by a Beijing-based state-owned pharmaceutical firm is 86 per cent effective at preventing infection, according to UAE officials.
The vaccine, made by a company called Sinopharm, is one of four being developed by China and is being tested in the Arab nation.
The vaccine has been undergoing third-phase trials in the Emirates since July, and it was approved for emergency use for healthcare workers in September.
Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum said in November that he had received an experimental coronavirus vaccine, but there was no announcement on which jab he received.
In a statement released today, the UAE ‘announced the official registration’ of the vaccine. It remains unclear if the country will now roll out a mass vaccination programme to its residents.
Sinopharm said last month that nearly a million people had taken its vaccine candidate, and one of the four Chinese jabs was provided to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and his family.
No data has been released on the clinical trials of the vaccine to support the claims of the Chinese vaccine’s effectiveness.
Two vaccines have undergone third-phase trials in the UAE, the Sinopharm project and Russia’s Sputnik-V, named after the Soviet-era satellite.
The Russian vaccine is also shrouded in mystery and has dubious scientific process, with no data released. Russia claims the vaccine, which has been rolled out to frontline workers this week, is more than 90 per cent effective.
UAE health officials say they have reviewed Sinopharm’s interim analysis of the third-phase trials which shows it is 86 per cent effective against coronavirus.
‘The announcement is a significant vote of confidence by the UAE’s health authorities in the safety and efficacy of this vaccine,’ news site WAM said.
‘The analysis also shows the vaccine to have 99 per cent seroconversion rate of neutralising antibody and 100 percent effectiveness in preventing moderate and severe cases of the disease,’ it adds.
‘Furthermore, the analysis shows no serious safety concerns.’
China, with a population of around 1.4billion people, was forced to setup vaccination trials overseas due to coronavirus case numbers being too low in the country.
As a result, it set up trials in the UAE and nine other nations experiencing larger outbreaks. Morocco is believed to be planning on using the Sinopharm vaccine to kickstart its vaccination plan, according to AP.