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World’s first Phase III clinical trial of COVID-19 inactivated vaccine begins in UAE

The first WHO enlisted global clinical Phase III trial of Sinopharm CNBG's inactivated vaccine to combat COVID-19 has started in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates. It has been inspired by the UAE Leadership's vision and commitment to overcome the pandemic through a global collaborative effort.

World’s first Phase III clinical trial of COVID-19 inactivated vaccine begins in UAE
H.E. Sheikh Abdullah bin Mohammed Al Hamed, Chairman of Department of Health, Abu Dhabi

H.E. Sheikh Abdullah bin Mohammed Al Hamed, Chairman of the Department of Health, Abu Dhabi, was the first individual in the world to commence the trial of Phase III inactivated vaccine for COVID-19. The Department's Acting Undersecretary, Dr Jamal Al Kaabi was the second volunteer to test the vaccine showcasing the commitment of the UAE Government and the Health Authorities to find a cure for humanity's most significant challenge of the 21st century.

The world's first Phase III trial is the result of a cooperation partnership between Abu Dhabi based G42 Healthcare, currently at the forefront of the battle against COVID-19 in the UAE, and Sinopharm CNBG, the world's sixth-largest vaccine manufacturer, ranked 169th on the Fortune Global 500 list of 2018.

The trials are being operated by health practitioners from Abu Dhabi Health Services (SEHA). They are providing facilities at five of their clinics in Abu Dhabi and Al Ain in addition to a mobile clinic to ensure the trials are readily accessible to volunteers participating in the programme.

Over the past few months, G42 Healthcare meanwhile has established a massive throughput laboratory to speed up the detection of the disease; manufactured essential PPE; researched new vaccines and drug therapies, and used its advanced A.I. capabilities to map and predict trends in the outbreak, virus mutations and help combat the disease.

The UAE was the preferred choice for the cooperation partnership to conduct the Phase III trials for the inactive vaccine as the nation is home to over 200 nationalities, allowing for robust research across multiple ethnicities and increasing its feasibility for global application on the success of the trials.

The UAE Health Authorities have recently issued a permit for up to 15,000 volunteers to take part in the trials. G42 Healthcare and SEHA are working towards achieving a minimum of 5,000 participants in the first stage of the programme to ensure the robustness of the results.

Today's clinical trial commencement is the start 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.

Trial formally began in the presence of the Chinese Ambassador to the UAE, H.E. Ni Jian; senior health department officials and G42 Healthcare and Sinopharm CNBG representatives. The first group of volunteers including UAE nationals and expatriates received the vaccine at Sheikh Khalifa Medical City today.

The clinical trials are being conducted under the strict guidance and supervision of the Department of Health Abu Dhabi and SEHA – the Abu Dhabi Health Services Company. The trials follow all international guidelines stipulated by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United States Food & Drug Authority (USFDA).

The study, if successful, will be approved and accredited by the Ethics Committee for Scientific Research in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.

Commenting on the start of the programme, UAE Principle Investigator Sheikh Khalifa Medical City CMO and Chairperson of the National COVID-19 Clinical Management Committee Dr Nawal Ahmed Alkaabi said: "Our participation in this trial enables us to make a significant contribution in the global fight to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. It is a matter of national pride that we can help facilitate the trial process that could have a worldwide impact and help people around the world to benefit from research and – if successful – the manufacture of a vaccine to fight back against this disease."

The phase III clinical trial follows the success of phase I and phase II trials conducted by Sinopharm in China, which resulted in 100% of the volunteers generating antibodies after two doses in 28 days. The phase III trials will be open to individual volunteers aged between 18 and 60 living in Abu Dhabi and Al Ain and will last for 42 days.