UAE leads coronavirus vaccine race with final phase 3 human trials

Chairman of the Department of Health - Abu Dhabi (DoH), was the first volunteer to receive the vaccine

  
An employee of German biopharmaceutical company CureVac, demonstrates research workflow on a vaccine for the coronavirus (COVID-19) disease at a laboratory in Tuebingen, Germany, March 12, 2020. Image used for illustrative purpose.

An employee of German biopharmaceutical company CureVac, demonstrates research workflow on a vaccine for the coronavirus (COVID-19) disease at a laboratory in Tuebingen, Germany, March 12, 2020. Image used for illustrative purpose.

REUTERS/Andreas Gebert/File Photo

The UAE has stolen a march over other countries in the quest for a vaccine against Covid-19 with the launch of final phase 3 human trials. Department of Health - Abu Dhabi, Group 42 and Chinese pharmaceutical major Sinopharm are partnering for the trials that will rope in 15,000 volunteers to further test the safety and efficacy of the vaccine.

It will test two vaccine strains and a placebo. Two doses three weeks apart will be administered and volunteers followed for a year, said Nawal Alkaabi, head of the UAE's COVID-19 Clinical Management Committee.

Volunteeers should be 18 to 60 years of age with no serious underlying medical issues and without previous COVID-19 infection, Alkaabi said.

Sheikh Abdullah bin Mohammed Al Hamed, chairman of the Department of Health - Abu Dhabi (DoH), was the first volunteer to receive the vaccine. He was followed by Dr Jamal Al Kaabi, the department's acting undersecretary.

The study, which began on Wednesday, is the world's first Phase III trial of an inactivated vaccine, G42 Healthcare CEO Ashish Koshy said. Inactivated vaccines are well known and have been used against diseases such as influenza and measles.

The clinical trial will last for about three to six months, according to a statement from the Abu Dhabi government. It will be open to individual volunteers aged 18 to 60, who are living in Abu Dhabi city and Al Ain.

During the study, which is being carried out by health practitioners from Abu Dhabi Health Services (Seha), the volunteers are required to be available for follow-ups.

Abu Dhabi health authorities and G42 Healthcare are hoping to recruit a minimum of 5,000 volunteers in the first stage of the programme. Five government clinics in Abu Dhabi and Al Ain, as well as a mobile clinic, have been designated for the trials.

The trials in Abu Dhabi follows the success of the first two phases conducted in China, which saw 100 per cent of volunteers generate antibodies after two doses in 28 days.

 

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