ABU DHABI / DUBAI: What can the world learn from the UAE in the fight against COVID-19?
Bold leadership, for one.
And two: Listening to the scientists.
So said Richard Horton, Editor-in-Chief of The Lancet medical journal, who compared coronavirus responses around the world, praising how the United Arab Emirates has handled the crisis.
“This comes down to a political leadership that is sensitive to the science and that is attuned to the risks,” he said.
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Horton was talking to CNN’s Connect the World host Becky Anderson, when he cited the strong resolve of the Gulf country to fight the pandemic.
The UAE, with a population of only 10 million, has already conducted 5 million coronavirus tests.
Horton said that by listening to scientists, political leaders had saved lives: “The political leaders (in the UAE) were listening to the scientists and were able to pivot very quickly to protect its citizens.”
This comes down to a political leadership that is sensitive to the science and that is attuned to the risks. The political leaders (in the UAE) were listening to the scientists and were able to pivot very quickly to protect its citizens.
Horton compared the UAE’s response to that of the USA, saying that in America, “The connection between science and government is almost non-existent.”
Horton also talked about potential coronavirus vaccines, following the announcement that Russia intends to have the first approved vaccine by August. He called for caution around Russia’s declaration, saying that there was, “No way a safe vaccine will be ready next month” (August).
The interview was aired on July 30.
Founded by Thomas Wakely, it is among the world's oldest and best-known general medical journals. Since its first issue (October 5, 1823), The Lancet has served the global scientific community.
Since then, the journal has made "science widely available so that medicine can serve, and transform society, and positively impact the lives of people".
The UAE is only the second country, after South Korea, to introduce drive-through COVID-19 testing.
The UAE has also pioneered a number of scientific advances in the fight against COVID-19.
These include the establishment of an industrial-scale PCR test labs (built in 14 and went live on March 31, 2020), a world-first stem cell therapy administered through a nebuliser (which greatly reduced severity of cases and led to earlier hospital discharge of COVID patients), and non-invasive laser test for coronavirus (using saliva as sample) with results out in minutes).
The UAE is the first country to have hosted the world's first Phase III trial of an inactivated coronavirus vaccine candidate. The trial has signed up 10,000 volunteers as of July 25, 2020.
The country has also extensively used convalescent plasma therapy to treat severe COVID cases.
As of August 1, 2020, the UAE had 60,760 confirmed coronavirus cases and 352 deaths, with 54,255 recoveries.