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Russia says human trials for Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine underway in UAE

Oct. 12 (UPI) — Russia’s Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine has begun a late-stage clinical trial in the Middle East, the Kremlin said Monday.

Russia’s sovereign wealth fund, which has financed the vaccine’s development, said the United Arab Emirates has approved Phase 3 clinical trials to begin, supported by laboratory provider PureHealth.

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The Russian Direct Investment Fund said the trials will be overseen by Abu Dhabi‘s health department and health ministry. Medical protocols will be handled by Abu Dhabi’s public health provider.

RDIF CEO Kirill Dmitriev said the fund is planning to expand trials to “several other countries over the coming months.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin discussed the clinical trials in a phone conversation Monday with Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Mohammad Al Nahyan.

The UAE is the second country after Belarus to stage a clinical trial for the Sputnik V vaccine, which Russia hailed previously as the first registered in the world for human use to fight COVID-19. It has spurred questions about efficacy and safety, however.

Russia’s Gamaleya Institute published results from an early-phase clinical trial for peer review last month in the British medical journal The Lancet — a key step in the approval process for any vaccine.

A group of 29 mostly European scientists, led by Temple University biology professor Enrico Bucci, said in an open letter last month that they noted several instances of apparent duplication in reports of the vaccine’s antibody response in human volunteers.

Russian scientists still have not shared the data behind the clinical trial results despite repeated requests, The Moscow Times reported last week.

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