UAE kicks off final stage of clinical trial of COVID-19 vaccine

Simultaneous signing ceremonies have been done in Abu Dhabi and Beijing to announce the partnership. (WAM)
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Updated 24 June 2020

UAE kicks off final stage of clinical trial of COVID-19 vaccine

  • The UAE claims it is the first in the world to reach the final stage of the clinical trial
  • The vaccine is “inactivated,” which is usually taken in repeated doses to ensure immunity

DUBAI: The UAE will conduct the final stage of its clinical trial of a COVID-19 inactivated vaccine, the health ministry announced on Tuesday.

The UAE claims it is the first in the world to reach the final stage – referred to as Phase III – of the clinical trial, state news agency WAM reported.

Clinical trials usually run in three phases – the first one focuses on the vaccine’s safety, and the second evaluates its immunization process in a small number of people.

Phase III, which in this case will be done under the supervision of the Abu Dhabi Department of Health, will look into the vaccine’s safety and effectiveness in a large population sample.

Inactivated vaccines consist of the killed version of the bacteria or virus, and are usually taken in repeated doses to ensure immunity.

The trial comes under the partnership of Abu Dhabi-based artificial intelligence company Group 42 and pharmaceutical giant Sinopharm China National Biotec Group (CNBG).

Both companies said they were aiming to develop a safe and effective vaccine that could be in the market by the end of 2020 or early 2021.


Iran’s hard-line lawmakers move to summon Rouhani — Tasnim

Updated 07 July 2020

Iran’s hard-line lawmakers move to summon Rouhani — Tasnim

DUBAI: Iran’s hard-line lawmakers plan to summon the president for questioning, a move that could ultimately lead to impeachment, media reported on Monday, amid growing discontent over the government’s economic policies.
Iranians’ daily struggle to make ends meet has become harder since the reimposition of US sanctions in 2018, and the economy has been further damaged by rising inflation, growing unemployment, a slump in the rial and the coronavirus crisis.
A motion to question President Hassan Rouhani was signed by 120 lawmakers out of 290 and handed to the presiding board of the assembly, Iran’s semi-official Tasnim news agency reported. To take effect, the motion must be passed to the president by the presiding board.
However, analysts say the board might hold back from issuing the summons, mindful that Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s top authority, has called for unity among the branches of authority at a time when Iran faces mounting US pressure.
A move by parliament to question Rouhani’s predecessor was blocked by a rare intervention by Khamenei.
“The lawmakers have various questions for the president, including the reasons behind the foreign exchange market crisis as well as the high prices of basic goods and basic necessities of the people today,” Tasnim quoted Tehran lawmaker Eqbal Shakeri as saying.
Defying central bank attempts to revive its value, Iran’s rial currency has continued to fall against the US dollar on the unofficial market since April.
First elected in a landslide in 2013 and reelected in 2017, Rouhani opened the door to nuclear diplomacy with six major powers.