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Egypt announces clinical trials of its own Covid-19 vaccine

PTI Cairo | Updated on November 15, 2021

People wait to receive a dose of the coronavirus disease vaccine at an immediate vaccination centre operating at the Sadat underground metro station, in Cairo, Egypt, November 14   -  REUTERS

This is the first indication that researchers here had moved from producing the vaccine and early testing to injecting people

Egypt’s national research body said Sunday that it will start clinical trials for a domestically made coronavirus vaccine.

The country’s acting Health Minister, Khaled Abdel Ghaffar, told reporters at a press conference that it is launching clinical trials of the new vaccine. He said the trial for the vaccine, named COVI VAX’ will start with tens, then hundreds, and will eventually include thousands of people.

Sunday’s announcement in Cairo was the first indication that researchers there had moved from producing the vaccine and early testing to injecting people who are the subjects of the trial.

WHO’s nod

The World Health Organization has previously recognised the Egyptian vaccine as one of the hundreds of formulas around the world that are in development. It works by including proteins from the original virus to provoke an immune response.

“It’s a very important strategic situation, that there is an Egyptian vaccine that we can rely on in the coming period,” said Ghaffar, who is also the Minister of Higher Education and the head of the national research institute in the country.

Also read: Egypt’s ban of tuk-tuk to hit India’s 3-wheeler OEMs

The government has been trying to encourage more of its population to get vaccinated as case numbers have risen in recent weeks. Starting November 15, all government employees are expected to show proof of vaccination to enter their workplaces.

Egypt has vaccinated more than 14 per cent of its population, according to government officials. It’s been almost entirely reliant on shipments of vaccines from other countries, many through the international COVAX initiative that is meant to provide shots to developing countries.

According to a daily updated tally of coronavirus cases from the country’s Ministry of Health, 19,435 people have died from the virus in Egypt since the pandemic started and 3,43,026 have been confirmed to have been infected. The true number is believed to be much higher.

Published on November 15, 2021

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