For illustrative purpose only Image Credit: AP

The UAE’s first independent biomedical research centre has opened its doors at a time when the COVID-19 pandemic has infected more than 21 million people and claimed in excess of 764,000 lives across the world — thereby providing a much-needed boost to global efforts to fight the virus and find long-term solutions to prevent potential outbreaks in the future.

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, stressed the same vital role to be played by the institute when he toured its world-class facilities during its inauguration last week. “Medical research is an integral part of prevention and medical security in the UAE. Supporting research helps ensure sustainable economic, social and human development,” Sheikh Mohammed said at the Mohammed Bin Rashid Medical Research Institute.

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Whether it’s pioneering the Arab world’s first mission to space or partnering and hosting a stage-3 clinical trial for a COVID-19 inactive vaccine in the country, the UAE’s quest for scientific achievement has always followed a simple guiding principle advocated by the UAE leadership since its inception: every project, innovation or discovery must not only benefit the UAE and its people but also help in the progress of humanity. This is the reason why the UAE has made it a point to freely share the findings of all its missions with the global scientific community — whether it’s the Hope Probe to Mars or the coronavirus vaccine trials.

In this case, the biomedical research institute will be a key centre for helping heal the world, studying diabetes, obesity, heart and kidney disease, various types of cancers and mental health. It will also examine genetic diseases that are common in the UAE and explore preventive measures. Initiatives such as this research centre also go a long way in encouraging young Emiratis to pursue scientific breakthroughs and bridge the medical research gap in the region. Established with an initial investment of Dh300 million as part of the Al Jalila Foundation, the facility is expected to bring a four per cent return on the investment — amounting to Dh10.5m annually — which will be reinvested in healthcare and research programmes.

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When much of the region and the wider Middle East is either reeling from the devastating effects of the coronavirus pandemic or wracked by internal strife and violent divisions, the Mohammed bin Rashid Medical Research Institute stands apart as a testimony to the UAE’s successful pursuit of Arab scientific excellence — a potent symbol of its healing touch that will ultimately help usher peace and progress for the entire world.