COVID-19: 900 adults to be part of UAE study on Sinopharm vaccine for children

Official says the study’s results will assist the safe return of children to schools

  
Dubai is offering the Covid-19 Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to 12-15 year-olds, with booking at the several locations via the DHA Dubai app. Image courtesy Dubai Media Office Twitter handle.

Dubai is offering the Covid-19 Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to 12-15 year-olds, with booking at the several locations via the DHA Dubai app. Image courtesy Dubai Media Office Twitter handle.

Besides the 900 kids who will be taking part in the UAE’s Sinopharm vaccine study, 900 adults will also be recruited to generate comparative data on immune response, a top official has said.

Dr Nawal Al Kaabi, Chair, National Covid-19 Clinical Management Committee, said: “(The study) is called immunogenicity non-inferiority immune bridging study of inactivated Sars-CoV- 2 vaccine in healthy population aged 3 to 17 years versus healthy population aged 18 years and above. The phase is immune bridging study, and this is one of the ways that we can get data for children without using placebo.”

She underlined that the study has already been conducted in China.

“This is a different part of the study, which will be conducted in the UAE. The vaccine we are testing is BIBP, which is the same vaccine registered in the UAE for adults,” Dr Nawal, the chief medical officer of Abu Dhabi’s Sheikh Khalifa Medical City, said during a webinar held by the US-UAE Business Council.

The team is expected to complete the recruitment of participants soon. “Our primary objective is to evaluate the immunogenicity non-inferiority of inactivated Sars-CoV- 2 vaccine in this population. And the secondary objective is to evaluate the safety of children. So, we are looking to recruit 900 children versus 900 adults. I think, soon, we will be able to complete the recruitment. We will share the results with the world once it is ready,” Dr Nawal said.

The study’s results will assist the safe return of children to schools. This week, Abu Dhabi has approved the physical return of students to schools for the 2021/2022 academic year.

How the UAE went from zero to over 100,000 PCR tests per day

Looking back on the initial days of the pandemic, Dr Nawal highlighted that the UAE leadership knew the immediate need for massive RT-PCR screening across the population.

“I remember very well, sitting and discussing in January about the testing. At that time, there was no commercial test available in the market. And (the leadership) asked us to start testing. So, our team managed to collect the equipment needed to conduct the test. As soon as we started testing, we diagnosed the first case in the Middle East. And believe it or not, within a few weeks, our leadership asked us to plan testing for a few thousands and within a very short period of time, they asked us: ‘What do you need to test over 100,000 a day?’ I am an infectious disease physician, and I couldn’t imagine that I will do 100,000 tests per day. So, you can see how visionary they are.”

On Saturday, the Ministry of Health and Prevention conducted 267,968 PCR tests and detected 2,109 new cases and five deaths.

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