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Saudi Arabia May Soon Approve Experimental Covid-19 Vaccine By China's Sinovac Biotech

As the last two months of 2020 continue in more or less the same spirit as the months before, marked by various preventive and safety measures to curb the spread of COVID-19, from social distancing to rigorous population-wide testing, Saudi Arabia may be on the verge of returning to normalcy once again as a vaccine by China’s Sinovac Biotech awaits approval by the Saudi Food and Drug Authority. The virus has passed the third stage clinical trials and the Kingdom’s renowned King Abdullah International Medical Research Center (KAIMRC) has already signed an agreement with Sinovac to receive the vaccine. 

Aref Al-Amri, Head of the Department of Biomolecules and Cytogenetics at the regional laboratory in Riyadh, was quoted by saying, “So far there have been no health complications or allergic reactions in those who have tried the vaccine, except for a fever or mild migraine, but that is normal when vaccination is administered with any virus.”

This vaccine by Sinovac has already been tested in China and Brazil. Indeed, in mid-October this year, the experimental coronavirus vaccine was reported by São Paulo’s Butantan Institute, one of Brazil’s leading biomedical research centers, to be safe in a late-stage clinical trial that involved some 9,000 volunteers.

In August of this year, Saudi Arabia took a major step towards slowing the spread of the new coronavirus across country by conducting the third phase of a COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial, which was carried out on around 5,000 volunteers (all over the age of 18) in health centers across Riyadh, Mecca, and Dammam. The vaccine that was being tested at the time was by CanSino, a Chinese vaccine developing company. CanSino developed the vaccine candidate called Ad5-nCOV, which reportedly uses a harmless cold virus known as adenovirus type-5 (Ad5). Ad5-nCOV went under three phases of trial, the first and second in China, and the third in Saudi Arabia.

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