Egypt starts trials for 2nd domestic COVID-19 vaccine; plans to produce 1.6 mln doses daily

Hagar El-Shabrawy, Wednesday 2 Mar 2022

Egypt started clinical trials on Tuesday for its second local coronavirus vaccine Egy-Vax, which will be produced in cooperation with private drug company Eva pharma, with plans to produce 1.6 million doses daily.

Khaled Abdel Ghaffar
Khaled Abdel Ghaffar, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research and Act Health Minister speaks during a meeting on Tuesday 2 March, 2022. Photo courtesy of Egyptian Ministry of Health Facebook page.

The new vaccine is the result of a cooperation agreement signed in December between the Ministry of Education and Scientific Research, the Ministry of Agriculture, and Eva Pharma.

The country has already started clinical trials for its first domestic vaccine COVI-VAX in November, which is set to be manufactured via state-owned VACSERA drug company.

The announcement was made during a press conference on Tuesday evening attended by acting Minister of Health and Population Khaled Abdel-Ghaffar, Minister of Agriculture and Land Reclamation Sayed El-Qaseer, managing director of Eva Pharma Riad Armanious, and head of the Egyptian Drug Authority Tamer Essam.

Armanious said his company is planning to manufacture around 500 million doses annually, at a daily rate of 1.6 million doses, through its production lines in 6 October City

The step, he added, will contribute to achieving self-sufficiency in vaccine supply, meeting local needs and exporting the surplus.

Pre-clinical trials for Egy-Vax – conducted at laboratories and on animals – registered an increase in antibody levels against the coronavirus after two doses, and the studies also showed "promising" indications in terms of the vaccine's efficacy and side effects, Armanious noted during the presser.

The vaccine will be manufactured as per the requirements of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the FDA, in order to be accredited abroad for export, he added.

In February, head of the clinical trial team for the first Egyptian vaccine COVI-VAX said it has shown promising results.

Egypt has been locally producing the Sinovac/VACSERA COVID-19 vaccine since June 2021 at VACSERA’s factories under an agreement signed in April of the same year with China’s Sinovac biopharmaceutical company.

Egypt will also start producing mRNA COVID-19 vaccines over the next few months after the country was chosen – along with five other African nations – by WHO to receive the technology needed for production.

The process will include extracting the raw material needed to produce mRNA vaccines – like the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines –Hossam Abdel-Ghaffar, the spokesman for the Ministry of Health and Population, has said.

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