Researchers are desperate to find a vaccine that can help combat the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, which has so far affected more than 9.7 million people and killed over 491,000.

Now, China is set to run its large-scale Phase III clinical trial of its coronavirus vaccine candidate in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

More than a dozen vaccine candidates are undergoing trial across the world, but China’s vaccine is the first one to enter the Phase III human trials.

China National Biotech Group Co. Ltd. (CNBG), a subsidiary of China National Pharmaceutical Group Corporation (SINOPHARM), was approved to run its phase III clinical trial for its COVID-19 vaccines in the UAE.

The participants attended the launching ceremony via video conferencing, during which, the UAE Minister of Health and Prevention, Abdul Rahman Mohammed Al Owais, issued a phase III of the COVID-19 vaccine clinical approval certificate to Ni Jian, the Chinese Ambassador to the UAE.

The trial will involve thousands of participants and usually will occur in a country where the virus is widespread so the efficacy of the vaccine can be seen in real-life situations.

China looked for other nations where the vaccine can be tested because cases in the country have been declining over the past months.

CNBG announced the collaboration through a social media post in Weibo, without providing any details about the vaccine that is going to be tested.

The vaccine candidate, developed by the Wuhan Institute of Biological Products under CNBG, has already undergone testing on about 2,000 people in phase I and II trials in China.

The findings suggested that taking two doses of the experimental vaccine produced high titers of antibodies that are vital for combating the COVID-19 infection. The Phase III clinical trial will evaluate the safety as well as the efficacy of the vaccine candidate in a larger population. Also, the Phase III trial will help determine any possible side effects.

COVID-19 is still ravaging across the world, with millions infected and at least 491,000 dead. The United States and Brazil have recorded the highest numbers of infections, with 2.5 million and 1.2 million cases, respectively. Most nations, especially those with poor health systems, have been grappling with the skyrocketing cases of the COVID-19 infection. And now the only hope is to find a safe and effective vaccine or a drug that can stop the spread of the virus.