Thu 06-08-2020 18:35 PM
ABU DHABI, 6th August, 2020 (WAM) -- The world’s first Phase III trials of an inactivated vaccine for COVID-19 being held in the United Arab Emirates have reached a major milestone with over 5000 volunteers have now received their first vaccination.
The 5000th vaccination was given in the presence of Dr. Jamal Al Kaabi, the Acting Under-Secretary of Department of Health, Abu Dhabi, at the recently developed purpose-built walk-in registration, screening and testing centre at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre, ADNEC. Dr. Al Kaabi was the second participant in the vaccination programme and received his second shot this week.
The trials began in Abu Dhabi on 16th July and are being managed by G42 Healthcare in partnership with the Department of Health - Abu Dhabi, the UAE Ministry of Health and Prevention, MoHAP, and Abu Dhabi Health Services Company, SEHA. The inactivated vaccine has been developed by Sinopharm CNBG, the world’s sixth-largest vaccine manufacturer.
A sense of nationwide pride and shared commitment has led to over 80 nationalities in the community already volunteering to participate, inspired by the UAE Leadership’s commitment to overcoming the pandemic through a global collaborative effort.
The ADNEC facility can manage 1000 volunteers a day and is open daily from 8 am to 8 pm to allow the maximum number of individuals to participate. A second walk-in centre is also now operational at the Al Qarain Health Centre in Sharjah with a daily capacity of 500.
Commenting on the enormous success of the trials to date, Dr. Nawal Ahmed Alkaabi, UAE Principal Investigator, Sheikh Khalifa Medical City CMO and Chairperson of the National COVID-19 Clinical Management Committee, said, "This milestone marks a significant achievement for the ongoing clinical trials and is testament to the global commitment to humanity of everyone who calls the UAE home.
"We reached the 5000 vaccinations faster than anticipated and believe that our trials of the inactivated vaccine are moving faster than comparable trials processes anywhere in the world thanks to the winning combination of a national spirit of volunteerism and the strength of the UAE’s healthcare system.
"I would like to thank our volunteers and the clinical and administrative staff who have worked tirelessly to ensure this success and to make us confident of reaching our goal of 15,000 vaccinated volunteers in the weeks ahead."
G42 Healthcare CEO Ashish Koshy added, "We are very proud to have achieved this milestone in Phase III clinical trials process so quickly. There has been incredible interest from people across the nation to get involved and support everyone working to make these trials a success and I would like to thank everyone who has already volunteered.
"I would also want to encourage the residents of the UAE to continue to volunteer and to take advantage of the readily accessible centres in Abu Dhabi and Sharjah and the streamlined registration, screening and vaccination protocols that have been established thanks to the continued hard work and coordination of the medical teams, laboratory team, 4Humanity staff, and the UAE government organisations who are helping to mobilize and ensure the efficient running of the trials."
The thousands of volunteers who have now been vaccinated represent the whole range of nationalities and background in the UAE of all ages between 18 and 60.
One of these is a student studying in Abu Dhabi who said, "I am very proud to be taking part in the clinical trials and the medical staff have been very clear and very helpful in explaining the whole process. I am very optimistic that the clinical trials will be successful and for the UAE and for humanity we will have a very successful vaccine against COVID-19."
Meanwhile, one expatriate added his wholehearted support saying, "I have been in the UAE for four years and the country has given me a lot and the best way I could give something back was to offer myself for the vaccine trials. Everybody needs us and I am stepping forward to volunteer as this is the what the country needs."
The ongoing trials are a continuing part of a series of national initiatives to both foster population health and to enhance the UAE's medical research and development capabilities, including the local capacity to manufacture the vaccine. The trials process is being conducted following the international guidelines stipulated by the World Health Organisation, WHO, and the United States Food and Drug Administration, USFDA.
The Phase III clinical trials follow the success of Phase I and Phase II trials conducted by Sinopharm in China, which resulted in 100 percent of the volunteers generating antibodies to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, 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 six to twelve months, with the volunteers required to be available for follow-ups during this time.