A major trial of China’s Sinopharm Covid-19 vaccine is set to launch in Mozambique, aiming to better understand the shot´s effectiveness against variants circulating in southern Africa.
According to the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and the International Vaccine Institute (IVI), the study – set to begin shortly – will involve volunteers in Beira and Maputo, Mozambique, and is expected to deliver interim results before the end of the year.
A separate phase two trial will also assess whether Sinopharm and AstraZeneca’s vaccines can be used in a “mix and match” regime.
Both Sinopharm and AstraZeneca shots are set to be widely used across Africa; if they can be used in coordination it could bring far greater flexibility to the rollout in the face of fluctuating supply.
The new programme of clinical research which aims to expand access to Covid-19 vaccines in Africa will have CEPI funding of up to USD 12.7m to the Expanding Access and Delivery of COVID-19 Vaccines in Africa (ECOVA) consortium led by IVI to carry out clinical trials of Sinopharm’s BBIBP-CorV vaccine which will support the expanded use of the vaccine on the African continent.
Up to 170 million doses of BBIBP-CorV will be distributed by the COVAX Facility under an agreement announced on 12 July 2021, and the vaccine is already being deployed in over 50 countries around the world. However there have been no clinical trials of BBIBP-CorV in African populations or against the variants of concern circulating in southern Africa.
The ECOVA consortium is led by IVI, working in partnership with Mozambique’s Instituto Nacional de Saúde (INS), the International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh (icddr,b), the University of Heidelberg, Germany (UH), Harvard University, USA, and the University of Antananarivo in Madagascar (UA).