Saudi Arabia Plans Human Trial of China’s CanSino Virus Vaccine


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  • Trial will include 5,000 people in Riyadh, Mecca and Dammam
  • Infections in kingdom rising again after Islamic holiday

Saudi Arabia plans to conduct a clinical trial of a coronavirus vaccine developed by China’s CanSino Biologics on at least 5,000 volunteers.

The vaccine has produced an immune response in earlier trials in China. The trial in Saudi Arabia will be conducted in Riyadh, Mecca and Dammam, with one group of participants receiving a low dose of vaccine and the other a placebo, the Health Ministry said in a statement on Saturday.

The kingdom of 34 million has recorded more than 280,000 coronavirus cases, placing it among the 15 countries with the highest totals. New cases have dipped from a peak of nearly 5,000 per day in June to 1,428 on Sunday. The number has risen slightly in recent days, however, something the Health Ministry has attributed to people gathering during an Islamic holiday last week.

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2 replies

  1. Goldman Sachs has grown more optimistic about the arrival date for a coronavirus vaccine, causing it to upgrade its expetations for economic growth and cut its projection for the unemployment rate.

    The firm sees “at least one” vaccine approved by the end of 2020 and hitting the market for widespread distribution by the second quarter of 2012, progress that will boost consumer spending and generate stronger GDP readings and employment next year.

    In its revised forecast, Goldman still sees the jobless rate, currently at 10.1%, falling to 9% by the end of this year. However, it is projecting a decline to 6.5% by the end of 2021, which is half a percentage point less than its previous foreccast.

    On GDP, the economists also are leaving their 2020 estimates unchanged, with annualized gains of 25.2% in the third quarter and 8% in Q4.

    However for the full year of 2021, it sees GDP growing 6.2% on an annual average basis vs. its previous estimate of 5.6% and ahead of the Federal Reserve’s projection of 5%. The firm’s expectations are now for quarterly increases of 10%, 8%, 4% and 3% in 2021, against previous respective estimates of 8%, 6.5%, 5% and 4%.

    One reason for the optimism is that because the U.S. has struggled so much to contain the pandemic, it has increased the urgency for a vaccine.

    “The vaccine outlook has since become clearer and more positive, and the economic benefits for the US appear particularly large due to its leadership in the vaccine race and worse virus control,” Goldman economist Joseph Briggs wrote. “As a result, we now expect that at least one vaccine will be approved this fall with widespread distribution and positive growth effects felt in the first half of 2021.”

    There have been just over 5 million Covid-19 cases in the U.S., with about 163,000 deaths attributed to the virus, according to Johns Hopkins University.

    The U.S. government has funded three potential vaccines for Phase 3 trials. The competing companies are Moderna, AstraZeneca, which has partnered with the University of Oxford, and Pfizer and BioNTech. However there are some 42 companies that have vaccines in development, according to the Regulatory Affairs Professionals Society.

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