NAT-210201 Covid VACCINE
A resident gets COVID-19 vaccination in Dubai. The UAE will soon start manufacturing the Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine. Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News Archives

ABU DHABI: Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, and the Chinese Foreign Minister, Wang Yi, have launched “Life Sciences and Vaccine Manufacturing in the UAE” — a joint project by the UAE’s Group 42 and China’s CNBG (Sinopharm), to initiate the first COVID-19 vaccine production line in the UAE.

The vaccine will be called Hayat-Vax when manufactured in the United Arab Emirates, but is the same BiBP inactivated vaccine that has been administered in the UAE since it was approved by authorities in Decemeber, reported Reuters.

Attending the launch ceremony of the new project, which was held in Abu Dhabi during the visit of the Chinese top diplomat to the UAE, were Reem bint Ibrahim Al Hashemy, Minister of State for International Cooperation, and Ahmed Ali Al Sayegh, Minister of State.

“The UAE and China today inaugurated a new chapter in their historic and distinguished relations, under the title “Strategic Partnership for Humanity,” said Sheikh Abdullah in statements marking the launch. “Today we celebrate the significant milestones achieved by our strategic partnership across all levels. We are continuing the efforts that we initiated at the onset of the COVID-19 crisis. A partnership that sets an example to be emulated for collaboration between friendly nations in times of crises,” the UAE’s top diplomat added.

“The joint project is an added value to the international efforts being made in the face of the COVID-19 crisis which has been taking a toll on everyday lives across the world. The UAE, under the directives of our wise leadership, believes in the importance of collective action and concerted efforts in fighting such crises. We believe we should work collectively and forge ahead with our efforts to stem the fallout of the crisis and to work for ensuring the safety and stability of all peoples on earth,” Sheikh Abdullah noted.

'Large strides'

The launch ceremony started with a short video on the UAE-China cooperation during the COVID-19 crisis. Addressing the ceremony Liu Jingzhen, Chairman of Sinopharm, said, “Today we are making large strides in the global battle against COVID-19. And this pioneering project is the fruit of close cooperation and strategic partnership between the UAE and China and their leading efforts in fighting this crisis.”

“By taking this step, the UAE has paved the way for the registration and commercial production of Sinopharm’s vaccine in an embodiment of the significant efforts made by the two friendly nations to recover from the crisis,” Jingzhen continued. “We are very proud of this partnership with G42. This project will play a significant role in confronting the COVID-19 pandemic in the UAE, the Arab region and the entire world, “ he added.

Peng Xiao, CEO of G42, said the new project will “revolutionise the life sciences industry in the region over the coming years”. “G42 and CNBG have made significant achievements since 2020 thanks to their common vision and values,” he added, noting that new technologies will allow the two sides to rapidly respond to the growing local and international demand for the vaccine in a way that will represent a significant step forward on the path toward standing up to the crisis.

Sheikh Abdullah and the Chinese foreign minister then announced the official launch of the project which represents the first COVID-19 vaccine production line in the UAE. The two ministers carried a prototype of the new vaccine and took a commemorative photo on the occasion before attending a live streaming from the vaccine production site in the UAE.

Strategic partnership

Ahead of the ceremony, Sheikh Abdullah received the Chinese Foreign Minister. The meeting explored the strategic partnership between the two nations and the latest developments in the region in addition to an array of international and regional issues of interest.

Sheikh Abdullah hailed the privileged levels of relations between the two nations and the support provided by their leadership to further consolidate collaboration on all fronts.

He commended the strong strategic partnership between the two nations, thanks to which, he said, a number of joint projects have been implemented, primarily with regards to the global fight against COVID-19.