Chair of the National Health Strategic Group on COVID-19 and Head of Infectious Diseases at Hamad Medical Corporation Dr. Abdullatif Al Khal confirmed that the proactive approach taken by the Ministry of Public Health (MOPH) to secure the COVID-19 vaccine from various sources has proven effective.
Dr. Al Khal's comments come following Tuesday's announcement by Moderna, a US biotech company, that interim data from its ongoing trials showed its COVID-19 vaccine was 95 percent effective.
In mid-October, MOPH announced it had signed an agreement with Moderna to procure its COVID-19 vaccine as soon as it is approved and released for global use. This agreement with Moderna was on top of Qatar's agreement with Pfizer and BioNTech.
"The promising results of Moderna's preliminary analysis of its phase 3 clinical trials follow the announcement of similar data from Pfizer and BioNTech earlier this month. Between the two companies, tens of thousands of volunteers are involved in the ongoing clinical trials. The MOPH has been in discussions with multiple international pharmaceutical companies since the early days of the pandemic to ensure Qatar's population has early access to COVID-19 vaccines as soon as they demonstrate safety and efficacy and are approved for use," said Dr. Al Khal.
"It is extremely encouraging that the two companies with which we have signed agreements are seeing very high rates of effectiveness in the early results of their clinical trials. However, the findings are the interim results of the companies clinical trials and further results of the ongoing clinical trials will be available in due course," added Dr. Al Khal.
Moderna's announcement that its vaccine is 95% effective follows the interim analysis of the data from a clinical trial involving 30,000 people in the US. Half of the study participants were given two doses of the vaccine, four weeks apart, and half of the participants received placebo injections.
The preliminary analysis is based on the first 95 study participants to develop COVID-19 symptoms. From these, only five cases were in people who received the vaccine, while 90 cases were in those given the placebo.
"Never before has so much effort and resources have been put into the development of a vaccine. This investment is now starting to pay off and we have seen very promising early results from two different vaccines. We eagerly await further results of the trials and regulatory approval of the vaccines and there is good reason to be optimistic that the COVID-19 vaccines on the horizon can enable life to return to normal sooner rather than later," said Dr. Al Khal.
Source: Qatar News Agency
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