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The COVID-19 vaccine trials in the UAE began on July 16, with Abu Dhabi’s top health chiefs becoming the first to volunteer. Picture for illustrative purposes only. Image Credit: Reuters

Abu Dhabi: The world’s first Phase III trials of an inactivated COVID-19 vaccine have been extended to Bahrain by Abu Dhabi-based G42 Healthcare.

The artificial intelligence and cloud computing firm has been sponsoring the UAE trials for the same vaccine, dubbed 4Humanity, and the extension to Bahrain will see new volunteers being recruited from the nation.

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A company statement on Tuesday said the launch of Bahrain trials will reinforce the ongoing collaboration between public health entities in the UAE and Bahrain in combating COVID-19. Bahrain’s new 4Humanity recruitment centre will seek to enrol 6,000 volunteers, and it is the third such facility in the Gulf after the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre and at the Al Qarain Health Centre in Sharjah.

The trials pertain to a vaccine developed by Chinese pharmaceutical giant, Sinopharm China National Biotec Group, which has already shown promising results. It produced antibodies in all of the 1,000-plus volunteers in China after they were given two doses of the vaccine 28 days apart.
Trials in the UAE began on July 16, with Abu Dhabi’s top health chiefs becoming the first to volunteer. They are being sponsored by G42 Healthcare, in partnership with Abu Dhabi’s health care regulator, the Department of Health, and the UAE Ministry of Health and Prevention. The medical aspects of the trials are being conducted by Abu Dhabi public health provider, the Abu Dhabi Health Services Company (Seha).
Volunteers must be aged between 18 and 60 years, and must not have previously suffered from COVID-19. They are also required to be available for the duration of the trial.
Ashish Koshy

“It was always part of our original plan to open several centres to ensure the broadest impact and opportunity for individuals to participate and join the 4Humanity campaign. There has been a hugely enthusiastic response from the Ministry of Health and other public health bodies in Bahrain to work with us on the trials and to encourage their communities to volunteer in the trials,” said Ashish Koshy, G42 Healthcare chief executive officer.

Numbers boost

“The expansion will also help to boost the overall numbers of people participating in the test to enable similar numbers to other international trials underway in nations with much larger populations. We are also anticipating an expansion of our centre network in the UAE to be announced shortly,” Koshy added.

All trial procedures follow international guidelines set by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the United States Food & Drug Administration (USFDA), officials said at the launch in Abu Dhabi.