Phase III is the last round of testing prior to seeking authorisation to market a drug. | LUKAS BARTH

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The Spanish medicines agency said on Tuesday it had authorised pharmaceutical firm Hipra to carry out phase III trials of the COVID-19 vaccine it is developing.

Phase III is the last round of testing prior to seeking authorisation to market a drug.

Hipra began phase II trials in November that involved testing the vaccine on 1,000 volunteers across ten hospitals in Spain.

Hipra has said on its website that it anticipates being able to produce 600 million doses in 2022 and double that figure the following year.