A coronavirus disease (COVID-19) Human Immunoglobulin for Intravenous Injection from China National Biotec Group (CNBG). [Photo/Agencies]

DUBAI-The United Arab Emirates said on Wednesday that a Chinese coronavirus vaccine tested in the federation of sheikhdoms is 86 percent effective, marking the first public release of information on the efficacy of the shot.

The UAE, home to Dubai and Abu Dhabi, conducted a trial beginning in September of the vaccine by Chinese state-owned pharmaceutical giant Sinopharm involving 31,000 volunteers from 125 nations. Volunteers between 18 and 60 years old received two doses of the vaccine over 28 days.

The UAE’s Health and Prevention Ministry announced the results through a statement on the state-run WAM News agency, saying they “have reviewed Sinopharm CNBG’s interim analysis of the Phase 3 trials”.

The analysis shows “99 percent seroconversion rate of neutralizing antibody and 100 percent effectiveness in preventing moderate and severe cases of the disease”, the ministry said.

“The analysis shows no serious safety concerns.”

It was not immediately clear if the announced results included only those taking part in the testing in the UAE or if they also include results from China and elsewhere. The statement described the vaccine as receiving “official registration” without elaborating on what that meant.

However, calls on Wednesday to SEHA, the Abu Dhabi health authority, included an option for individuals to schedule an appointment to receive a “COVID-19 vaccine”. The center was swamped with calls following the announcement on the vaccine’s efficacy.

The vaccine has been approved for emergency use in a few countries and the company is still conducting late-stage clinical trials in 10 countries.

Morocco is gearing up for an ambitious COVID-19 vaccination program, aiming to vaccinate 80 percent of its adults in an operation starting this month that’s relying initially on the Sinopharm vaccine.

Sinopharm’s shot relies on a tested technology, using a killed virus to deliver the vaccine, similar to how polio immunizations are made.

Officials receive shots

Top officials in the UAE, including Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, prime minister and vice-president and ruler of Dubai, have publicly received the shots as part of the vaccine testing.

Abu Dhabi announced on Wednesday it would resume “all economic, tourism, cultural and entertainment activities in the emirate within two weeks”. It attributed the decision to “successes” in halting the spread of the coronavirus.

Since the pandemic began, the UAE has detected more than 178,000 cases of the virus, with about 160,000 patients having recovered, and nearly 600 deaths. More than 17 million tests have been conducted in the country which is home to nearly 9 million people.

Agencies Via Xinhua