Dubai: The Ministry of Health and Prevention (MoHAP) has announced it will be hosting the world’s first Phase III clinical trials of an inactivated vaccine to combat COVID-19, which was developed by Abu Dhabi-based G42 Healthcare and Sinopharm CNBG, the world’s sixth-largest vaccine manufacturer.
Opening a centre outside Abu Dhabi for the first time for volunteers to register, the ministry is dedicating the Al Qarayen Health Centre in Sharjah. The facility can register up to 500 volunteers per day and will be open to residents of Sharjah and other neighbouring emirates as part of the #4Humanity campaign launched on July 16.
The phase III clinical trials follow the success of the phase I and phase II trials conducted by Sinopharm in China, which resulted in 100 per cent of the volunteers generating antibodies after two doses in 28 days. The phase III trials are open to individual volunteers aged between 18 and 60 living in the UAE and will last for three to six months, with the volunteers required to be available for follow ups during this time.
The trials are being managed by G42 Healthcare in partnership with MOHAP and will play a central role in facilitating procedures for registering volunteers and conducting necessary tests.
Abdul Rahman Mohammad Al Owais, the UAE Minister of Health and Prevention, said: “The UAE health sector adopts a flexible and multi-track strategy in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, which depends on competent authorities conducting the largest possible number of medical tests and providing necessary care for the infected persons.
“Meanwhile, we are strengthening our cooperation with international partners to support the development of a safe vaccine against the disease. Thus, expanding the geographical scope of the #4Humanity campaign to include all emirates aims to enhance the results of clinical trials and ensure the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine on a larger segment of individuals”.
Expanding the geographical scope of the #4Humanity campaign to include all emirates aims to enhance the results of clinical trials and ensure the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine on a larger segment of individuals
Al Owais added: “We are optimistic about achieving promising results that would support the global efforts being made to develop the vaccine. Allocating Al Qarayen Health Centre as the first centre outside of Abu Dhabi to register, screen and test volunteers is yet another a distinct contribution from the UAE, to be added to its impeccable record of achievements in the field of clinical research thanks to the country’s advanced infrastructure, the efficiency of its health system and ability to conduct medical research according to the highest international standards”.
Dr Mohammad Salim Al Olama, Under-Secretary of the Ministry of Health and Prevention and Chairman of the Emirates Health Services Establishment, stressed the ministry’s keenness to harness all necessary resources and capabilities to ensure the full readiness of Al Qarayen Health Centre and facilitate the success of the third phase of the tests.
“Thousands of people of different nationalities have already expressed their desire to take part in the clinical trials, which reflects the confidence in the UAE health system and its ability to conduct clinical trials to test the promising vaccine in partnership with local and international parties,” Al Olama said.
He reaffirmed that the centre has enough space and ideal facilities that help register and conduct medical tests for volunteers according to the best scientific standards, and is open to residents from Dubai, Sharjah and the Northern Emirates.
CEO of G42 Healthcare, Ashish Koshy added: “The #4Humanity programme has captured the imagination of residents in every Emirate who are keen to volunteer and help find a cure for the world’s biggest health challenge of the 21st Century.
“Since the launch, it became quickly apparent of the strong desire of health authorities and residents across the UAE to play their part and help ensure the success of these trials at a truly national level. Our teams are now working closely with MOHAP and SEHA to ensure our advanced technology and measurement process complements their frontline testing of volunteers.”