Coronavirus COVID-19 vaccine. Image Credit: Reuters

Abu Dhabi: Saudi Arabia’s Imam Abdul Rahman bin Faisal University has started the first phase of clinical trials supported by the Ministry of Education to produce a COVID-19 vaccine, after it finished the laboratory experiments and proved their effectiveness.

The move reflects the contribution of Saudi universities and their integration with the national efforts aimed at achieving the first Saudi vaccine against coronavirus, and an affirmation of the generous support that education and scientific research in the Kingdom enjoy from the leadership, local media reported.

The university has signed a contract with one of the largest specialised companies in the UK and Sweden, and worked with leading companies in the production of vaccines and medicines such as AstraZeneca, with the aim of creating appropriate quantities for use in the first phase of clinical trials.

The contract includes the fermentation phase, risk assessment, safety and quality of the plasmid material, as well as the production of the first batch of the vaccine in accordance with international standards, and the requirements of international food and drug authorities.

It also signed a contract with a centre specialised in conducting clinical trials, to work with the research team in the processes of preparation and supervision of the protocol of the clinical stage, and to provide volunteers to participate in clinical studies, and to conduct all tests to assess the immunity provided by the vaccine, in addition to obtaining the necessary approvals from specialised food and drug authorities, and participating with the team in preparing the project’s interim and final reports, whether statistical or descriptive.

The university had cooperated with an office specialised in documenting and registering intellectual property rights for the project. The research team at the Institute for Research and Medical Consulting at the university, led by Dr. Iman Al Mansour, continues its efforts to complete its scientific journey in producing the vaccine, according to phases of time, using plasmid DNA vaccine technology.