Israel, UAE to boost vaccine collaboration as part of historic deal
“Working together, these efforts will help save Muslim, Jewish and Christian lives throughout the region,” the two countries said.
A volunteer receives an injection in a human clinical trial for a potential vaccine against the novel coronavirus, at the Baragwanath hospital in Soweto, South Africa, June 24, 2020
(photo credit: REUTERS/SIPHIWE SIBEKO)
As part of Thursday’s announcement of the historic peace deal between Israel and the United Arab Emirates brokered by the Trump Administration, the two nations will increase collaboration on a coronavirus vaccine, the Reuters news agency has reported.
The joint statement emerging from the agreement, to be known as the Abraham Accords, states that “the United Arab Emirates and Israel will immediately expand and accelerate cooperation regarding the treatment of, and the development of a vaccine for, the coronavirus. Working together, these efforts will help save Muslim, Jewish and Christian lives throughout the region.”
Both countries are involved in the development of a vaccine. Israel last week announced that researchers from the government-run Israel Institute for Biological Research in Ness Ziona expected to begin human trials on their version in October.
On July 16, Phase III trials for an inactivated virus vaccine developed by the China National Pharmaceutical Group (Sinopharm) began in Abu Dhabi. The UAE authorized participation of up to 15,000 volunteers in the trials, which last week expanded outside Abu Dhabi with the opening of a testing facility in the emirate of Sharjah.
Saudi Arabia on Thursday reported 34 new coronavirus deaths, bringing the total fatalities in the kingdom to 3,303. The country also confirmed 1,482 new infections, bringing the overall number of cases to 294,519. The total number of recoveries increased to 260,393.
Out of the new cases, 86 were recorded in the capital Riyadh, 77 in Jeddah, 63 in Hail and 60 in Hufof, according to Saudi Arabia’s English-language daily newspaper Arab News.
Iran’s health minister claimed on Wednesday that Iranian scientists were testing “three to four” COVID-19 vaccines on humans. Saeed Namaki said two Iranian companies had made progress in developing vaccines and had passed the animal-testing phase to enter human trials, according to Fars news agency.
Iran is the hardest-hit country in the Middle East. As of Thursday, the total number of coronavirus cases stood at 336,324, with 19,162 deaths and 292,058 recoveries, according to the Johns Hopkins coronavirus tracker.
The Waffa news agency on Tuesday reported that the PA is expected to become one of the first places to receive Russia’s new coronavirus vaccine. PA President Mahmoud Abbas reportedly thanked Russian President Vladimir Putin for the opportunity.
Putin announced on Tuesday that the country was the first to grant regulatory approval to a COVID-19 vaccine, named “Sputnik V.” There is international concern over the safety of the vaccine, which has not completed Phase III clinical trials involving thousands of participants.
Russia said the first batch of the vaccine would be rolled out within two weeks.