In a major development in the global fight against COVID-19, early clinical trials of a Chinese vaccine being tested in the UAE have shown safe and positive results, developing an immune response. According to a study published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases journal, Phase 1 and 2 clinical trials conducted in China showed promising results with participants ranging between the age of 18 and 80. More than 31,000 volunteers from over 120 nationalities are participating in phase 3 clinical trials of the vaccine in the UAE.
The study is executed by a number of researchers from various institutes in China including the Henan Provincial Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the Beijing Institute of Biological Products, among others.
Early findings are indicating that the "BBIBP-CorV" vaccine against COVID-19, may be significantly effective for the elderly population, noting that it is one of the most vulnerable groups to the virus.
Professor Xiaoming Yang, who is one of the authors of the study, spoke to the media, asserting that there are times when vaccines are less effective for senior citizens because the immunity system becomes weak with age. He further noted that one of the key aims of developing a successful COVID-19 vaccine is to protect older people, adding that this age group is at a higher risk of contracting severe illness from the disease.
"It is, therefore, encouraging to see that BBIBP-CorV induces antibody responses in people aged 60 and older, and we believe this justifies further investigation," Professor Yang said.
China carried out Phase 1 and 2 clinical trials of the vaccine between April 29-July 30 with the participation of over 600 healthy volunteers.
In the early trials during the 42 days, the vaccine activated antibodies to block the virus from infecting the cells in all participants, as per The Lancet report. Furthermore, Participants aged 60 and above responded to the vaccine slowly and produced fewer antibodies as compared to younger participants who detected antibodies within 28 days only.
The study also revealed that the vaccine was accepted well by the participants' immune systems al all doses.
At the same time, a different vaccine was tested for clinical trials with the participation of people under the age of 60 and it also showed similar results.
The vaccine, based on inactivated SARS-CoV-2 virus, is developed by the Beijing Institute of Biological Products in affiliation with state-owned China National Pharmaceutical Group (Sinopharm).
However, it has yet not been revealed if the vaccine produces enough antibodies to provide immunity against COVID-19.
During Phase 1 clinical trials, around 96 participants between the ages of 18 to 59 and 96 participants between 60 to 80 years old were studied by researchers with three dose levels and a placebo. In Phase 2, researchers studied the optimal timing for vaccination, indicating that a booster shot was required for achieving the most appropriate antibody response.
As of now, more than 40 different COVID-19 vaccines are underway clinical trials across different countries in the world.