Egypt’s health ministry has announced on Sunday that 332 Egyptians out of 642 applicants have met the criteria required for taking part in two Chinese coronavirus vaccine clinical trials.
Assistant Minister and coordinator of the ministry’s scientific committee Ehab Kamal told Sada El-Balad TV that the 332 volunteers met the required criteria of not suffering from chronic diseases.
Kamal revealed that the volunteers are monitored daily by phone for 21 days after taking the first dose, allowed a second dose after if no side effects emerge.
Volunteers' antibodies will be measured for a year, he said, adding that the first two stages of the clinical trials have concluded, and the third phase has already begun.
Kamal’s statements come nearly a week after Health Minister Hala Zayed said that some 6,000 people in Egypt will participate in phase three clinical trials of two Chinese coronavirus vaccines as part of an international effort to determine their effectiveness.
Phase 3 involves testing the efficacy and safety of the vaccine, which was manufactured by the Chinese bio-pharm company Sinopharm, before it is licensed, and involves several thousands of volunteers.
Trials on Chinese vaccines are being carried out in three other countries: Bahrain, the UAE and Jordan.
In July, Egypt was selected by China to serve as a future African hub for manufacturing a coronavirus vaccine if one is developed by Beijing.
Chinese state-owned bio-pharm company Sinopharm, through its China National Biotec Group (CNBG) unit, has two inactivated vaccines.
CNBG trials are expected to include around 10 countries, with 50,000 people participating, CNBG vice president Zhang Yuntao said, adding that the unit is expected to produce 300 million doses of the vaccine annually, and may be able to raise production capacity to 1 billion doses.
Egypt had witnessed a slight increase in the daily tally of coronavirus cases in the past few weeks, reversing a low of 89 on August 22, the lowest daily infection toll since early April.
The slight rise in cases comes the government repeatedly urged caution to avoid a second wave of the pandemic, particularly with the advent of autumn.
Egypt has so far reported 102,015 coronavirus cases, including 5,770 deaths since the outbreak of the coronavirus in mid-February.