ABU DHABI- The world’s first Phase III trials of an inactivated vaccine for COVID-19 in the United Arab Emirates have reached the 15,000 volunteers target in less than a month with individuals from 107 nationalities participating in the programme. Volunteers can still register through the portal www.4humanity.ae.
Managed by G42 Healthcare in partnership with the UAE Ministry of Health and Prevention (MOHAP), the Department of Health - Abu Dhabi, and Abu Dhabi Health Services Company (SEHA), the trials successfully screened and vaccinated 15,000 volunteers with the first of two vaccine shots they are given during the process. The inactivated vaccine has been developed by Sinopharm CNBG, a leading vaccine manufacturer.
Since launching on 16 July in Abu Dhabi the #4Humanity trials captured the imagination of the UAE’s multinational population eager to help fulfill the UAE leadership’s commitment to overcome the pandemic through a global collaborative effort.
The volunteers encompass 107 nationalities and diverse demographics, including more than 4,500 Emiratis. Over 140 doctors, 300 nurses, and many more administrative and technical support staff are helping to facilitate the vaccine trial.
Volunteers have benefited from quick and simple protocols, enabling them to easily access walk-in centres at ADNEC in Abu Dhabi and Al Qarain Health Center in Sharjah to be registered, screened and administered their first vaccination in one visit.
The UAE Ministry of Health and Prevention (MOHAP), the Department of Health - Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi Health Services Company, Sinopharm and G42 Healthcare would like to extend their gratitude to all volunteers for their service for humanity. Thanks to their participation in these historic trials, the world has taken a major step towards developing the first tested, safe vaccine.
Abdul Rahman bin Mohammed Al Owais, Minister of Health and Prevention added, "This is a very proud day for everyone associated with these trials and we are looking forward to continuing to play an integral role in the work to come in the months ahead. Securing this milestone is a testament to the commitment and partnership of the relevant authorities working together to conduct the largest possible number of medical tests and providing the necessary care for those infected, while simultaneously strengthening the UAE’s cooperation with international partners to develop a safe vaccine against disease." Sheikh Abdullah bin Mohammed Al Hamed, the Chairman of the Department of Health, Abu Dhabi, was the first individual in the world to commence the trial of a Phase III inactivated vaccine for COVID-19 and has already received the first and second shot.
Commenting on the achievement of this milestone, he said: "I was enormously proud to have been the first volunteer and since then it has been truly heartwarming to see how the nation has pulled together, helping us achieve our target of participants in just four weeks since the trials began. We are a nation of extraordinary people, one that individuals from all over the world call home, and together we are committed to finding a global solution for COVID-19." UAE Principal Investigator, Sheikh Khalifa Medical City CMO and Chairperson of the National COVID-19 Clinical Management Committee Dr. Nawal Ahmed Alkaabi commented, "This is a wonderful achievement and the importance to get involved in these clinical trials has captured the imagination of the nation and the 15,000 volunteers who have stepped up to participate. Once again it goes to show the passion and commitment of everyone living and working here in the UAE to play their part for the good of humanity.
"I would like to express my appreciation to the UAE leadership for enabling these ground-breaking trials to happen and of course to our volunteers and to the hugely committed clinical and administrative staff for their professionalism in processing our volunteers so quickly and efficiently." G42 Healthcare CEO Ashish Koshy said: "The 107 nationalities who have now volunteered are a powerful vindication of the decision we made to encourage Sinopharm CNBG to partner with us in the UAE because of the enormously diverse and wide-ranging ethnicity and demographics of the country’s population.
"But this milestone only marks the completion of the volunteer first vaccination phase. The combined scientific and clinical teams will now be ensuring the smooth management of our 15,000 volunteers through every stage of their 42-day journey that includes regular check-ups and of course returning for a second shot of the inactivated vaccine." Jingjin Zhu, President of Sinopharm Group Biological Products, added "The speed of these trials to date and the incredible diversity of volunteers who have been vaccinated has fully reinforced our decision that the UAE was a perfect location to test our inactivated vaccine and reach the widest demographic and ethnic range of volunteers.
"We would like to thank our partners G42 Healthcare and the UAE’s health authorities for their hard-work and professionalism and we look forward to continued success as the trials proceed in the weeks and months ahead." Meanwhile in the first extension of the programme outside the UAE, hundreds of people are now volunteering for the Phase III trials in Bahrain, which are managed by G42 Healthcare with the Bahrain Ministry of Health. These results will be part of the overall trials that began in the UAE and use the same inactivated vaccine from Sinopharm CNBG and identical clinical protocols.
Plans are in the advanced stages for further centres to be opened in additional locations to ensure the broadest impact and opportunity for individuals to participate and join the 4Humanity campaign.
The trial is 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.
© Copyright Emirates News Agency (WAM) 2020.