Turkey begins Phase III trials of Chinese coronavirus vaccine

Turkey begins Phase III trials of Chinese coronavirus vaccine
The vaccine candidate will later be administered to volunteers with chronic diseases. (File/Reuters)
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Updated 16 September 2020

Turkey begins Phase III trials of Chinese coronavirus vaccine

Turkey begins Phase III trials of Chinese coronavirus vaccine
  • The vaccine will be administered to between 1,200-1,300 health workers over 10 days
  • A second dose will be given 14 days after the first

ISTANBUL: Turkey began final Phase III trials of an experimental Chinese coronavirus vaccine on Wednesday, Turkish media reported.
The vaccine will be administered to between 1,200-1,300 health workers over 10 days and a second dose will be given 14 days after the first, broadcasters CNN Turk and Haberturk said.
The results of the trial will be sent the World Health Organization (WHO).
The vaccine candidate will later be administered to volunteers with chronic diseases, with the aim of vaccinating 13,000 people, the broadcasters said.
The health ministry did not comment on the reports.
Health Minister Fahrettin Koca is due to hold a news conference later in the day.
Koca announced last week that Phase III work had started on the Chinese vaccine candidate, as well as another developed by Pfizer. Russia’s application to conduct Phase III trials in Turkey for its experimental vaccine was being evaluated and a decision would likely be made this week, he said.
China is administering experimental coronavirus vaccines to tens of thousands of its citizens, attracting international interest, despite experts’ concerns over the safety of drugs that have not completed standard testing.
China launched a vaccine emergency use program in July, offering three experimental shots developed by a unit of state pharmaceutical giant China National Pharmaceutical Group (Sinopharm) and US-listed Sinovac Biotech.
A fourth coronavirus vaccine being developed by CanSino Biologics was approved for use by the Chinese military in June.
Haberturk said the vaccine candidate being trialled in Turkey was developed by Sinovac.


Hundreds protest police repression in Tunisia

Hundreds protest police repression in Tunisia
Updated 53 min 12 sec ago

Hundreds protest police repression in Tunisia

Hundreds protest police repression in Tunisia
  • Saturday’s protests come as the North African nation struggles to stem the novel coronavirus pandemic
  • The government on Saturday extended a night-time curfew from 8 p.m. (1900 GMT) to 5 a.m. and banned gatherings until February 14

TUNIS: Hundreds of demonstrators took to the streets of Tunisian cities on Saturday to protest police repression, corruption and poverty, following several nights of unrest marked by clashes and arrests.
Saturday’s protests come as the North African nation struggles to stem the novel coronavirus pandemic, which has crippled the economy and threatened to overwhelm hospitals.
Over 6,000 people have died from Covid-19 in Tunisia, with a record 103 deaths reported on Thursday.
The government on Saturday extended a night-time curfew from 8 p.m. (1900 GMT) to 5 a.m. and banned gatherings until February 14.
But protesters took to the streets in several parts of the country, including the capital Tunis and the marginalized interior region of Gafsa, to demand the release of hundreds of young people detained during several nights of unrest since January 14.
“Neither police nor Islamists, the people want revolution,” chanted demonstrators in a crowd of several hundred in Tunis, where one person was wounded in brief clashes amid a heavy police presence.
Protests were also held in the coastal city of Sfax on Friday.
Much of the unrest has been in working class neighborhoods, where anger is boiling over soaring unemployment and a political class accused of having failed to deliver good governance, a decade after the 2011 revolution that toppled long-time dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.
Economic misery exacerbated by novel coronavirus restrictions in the tourism-reliant nation have pushed growing numbers of Tunisians to try to leave the country.
“The situation is catastrophic,” said Omar Jawadi, 33, a hotel sales manager, who has been paid only half his salary for months.
“The politicians are corrupt, we want to change the government and the system.”
The police have said more than 700 people were arrested over several nights of unrest earlier this week that saw young people hurl rocks and petrol bombs at security forces, who responded with tear gas and water cannon.
Human rights groups on Thursday said at least 1,000 people had been detained.
“Youth live from day to day, we no longer have hope, neither to work nor to study — and they call us troublemakers!” said call center worker Amine, who has a degree in aerospace engineering.
“We must listen to young people, not send police in by the thousands. The whole system is corrupt, a few families and their supporters control Tunisia’s wealth.”
Tunisia last week marked one decade since Ben Ali fled the country amid mass protests, ending 23 years in power.
Tunisia’s political leadership is divided, with Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi waiting for parliament to confirm a major cabinet reshuffle announced last Saturday.