World’s first phase III clinical trial of COVID-19 vaccines begins in UAE - GulfToday

World’s first phase III clinical trial of COVID-19 vaccines begins in UAE


Sheikh Abdullah Bin Mohammed becomes the first volunteer to participate in the vaccines trial. WAM

Mariecar Jara-Puyod, Senior Reporter

The Department of Health Abu Dhabi chairman Sheikh Abdulla Bin Mohammed Al Hamed abd acting secretary Dr. Jamal Al Kaabi are the first two volunteers for the UAE-China Phase III clinical trial of two COVID19 inactivated vaccines to take place in the capital within this year.

An inactivated vaccine means the “bacteria or viruses have been killed by a chemical treatment” in contrast to a live vaccine.

The announcement came by way of a webinar on Thursday morning when G42 Healthcare chief executive officer (CEO) Ashish Koshy, G42 Healthcare Chief Research Director/Vaccine Project leader Dr. Walid Abbas Zaher and Sheikh Khalifa Medical City (Abu Dhabi) Chief  & Head consultant Dr. Nawal Ahmed Mohamed Al Kaabi met the press to detail the programme.

G42 Healthcare is part of the G42, a leading Artificial Intelligence and Cloud Computing company in the capital. It is into the development and implementation of holistic and scalable technology solutions in specific industries.

It was on June 23 when G42 and the pharmaceutical company Sinopharma of the state-owned China National Biotec Group (CNBG) signed a clinical cooperation agreement for the Phase III clinical trial. A Phase III trial determines the efficacy of a medicine or treatment through a larger number of willing patients/participants after satisfactory results from a Phase II trial.

The June 23 signing ceremony in Abu Dhabi was graced by UAE Minister of Health and Prevention Abdul Rahman Mohammed Al Owais, Al Hamed, Chinese Ambassador to the UAE Ni Jian, Emirates Red Crescent Board of Directors chairman Dr. Hamdan Musallan Al Mazrouki, and J. Al Kaabi. The ceremony was virtually connected and was also attended in China by Sinopharma chairman Liu Jingzhen, Sinopharma CNBG chairman Yang Xiaoming, Sinopharma International president Li Can, SASAC chairman Hao Peng, and UAE Ambassador to China Dr. Ali Al Dhaheri.

Jamal-Al-KaabiDr Jamal Al Kaabi takes part in Phase III Covid-19 vaccines clinical trial in Abu Dhabi.

On Thursday morning, G42 Healthcare’s Zaher said that stipulated in the clinical cooperation agreement was the eventual manufacture of the COVID19 vaccine in the UAE. That would be after the completion and success of the Phases III and IV (post-marketing) clinical trials to be first conducted within Abu Dhabi, with the target participation of 13,000 other willing volunteers.

Dr. Nawal Al Kaabi said the volunteerism of Al Hamed and Al Kaabi shows their trust and confidence on the programme that is already in the recruitment phase for the other fit and healthy volunteers, ages 18 to 60. She expressed hope that the recruits are representative of the multi-ethnicity of the country  each of the 200 nationalities, represented.

The qualified recruits/participants shall be periodically monitored and shall be asked to write a daily diary of what they go through or experience after the inoculation.

The experimental vaccine had passed Phases I and II in China wherein after 28 days, the recruits/participants generated or developed neutralizing antibodies able to defend the body from infection.

Zaher said the programme would principally be carried out and managed by the Abu Dhabi Health Services Company in five hospitals.

China has been in collaboration and in partnership with other governments, such as Brazil for the COVID19 vaccine. Aside from Sinopharma CNBG, there are other Chinese drug firms into the research-and-development of the vaccine.

The UAE participation in this Phase III clinical trial comes after Sinopharma CNBG had come up with two inactivated COVID19 vaccines.

A glance on the World Health Organisation (WHO)” Draft Landscape of COVID19 Candidate Vaccines” as of July 15, 2020 had shown that among 23 in clinical evaluation are the two inactivated COVID19 candidate vaccines by Sinopharma ranked as ninth and tenth. WHO noted that it does not in any way endorse any of the candidate vaccines which has so far totaled 140.

Koshy said the experimental vaccine is among the Top 10 in the WHO candidate vaccine and the choice for the Chinese candidate COVID19 vaccine is about having a solution soonest to the pandemic which has hit hard everyone including the global economy.

He was replying to a politically-tainted question (US-China ruffles) from one of the journalists.

As of 9:26 GMT of July 16 (Thursday), the UAE had registered 55,848 COVID19 cases with 46,418 recoveries and 335 deaths.

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