Egypt developing four WHO-registered vaccines to treat coronavirus patients

Egypt is developing four vaccines that have been registered by the World Health Organisation (WHO) to treat coronavirus patients, Egypt’s higher education minister said on Thursday.

Khaled Abdel-Ghaffar said the National Research Centre, part of the country’s higher education ministry, has completed the pre-clinical trials for one of the four vaccines.

He added that a report about the vaccine is being prepared to be presented to the health ministry’s Scientific and Research Ethics Committee for approval for clinical trials.

The four types include DNA plasmid, inactivated-whole virus, influenza A H1N1 vector, and protein subunit vaccines, Abdel-Ghaffar said.

The vaccines have been listed by WHO among a list of 129 candidate vaccines in preclinical evaluation worldwide. The Geneva-based agency also listed 18 more candidate vaccines in clinical evaluation.

The three remaining vaccines are being monitored to identify the concentration of antibodies produced in experimental animals, Abdel-Ghaffar noted.

The Egyptian team have identified three natural substances that can inhibit the virus and are preparing samples to be used in clinical trials. A report about these substances will also be presented to the ethics committee, the minister explained.

Two of the most talked-about drugs are the Russian-approved Avifavir, and the U.S. Gilead’s Remdesivir. Egypt started the local production of both antiviral medications last week by two local drug-makers, with Remdesivir having already been imported to many hospitals.

Avifavir is based on the Japanese anti-flu drug Favipiravir – also known by the name Avigan – which was approved for manufacturing and sale in Japan in 2014 and became a generic drug in 2019.

To date, Egypt has so far registered 71,299 confirmed coronavirus cases since the detection of the first infection in the country in mid-February, including 3,120fatalities.