Covid-19: UAE among first countries to get new AstraZeneca medication for unvaccinated patients

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The innovative medication is specifically designed to prevent severe infection and death in non-vaccinated high-risk patients.

By Web Desk

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Published: Wed 3 Nov 2021, 11:08 AM

Last updated: Wed 3 Nov 2021, 7:23 PM

Abu Dhabi has become the first to receive a new medication to protect immunocompromised patients against Covid-19, supporting efforts to protect all members of the community in UAE's capital.

Department of Health – Abu Dhabi, in collaboration with Rafed, the UAE’s primary group purchasing organisation (GPO) for the supply chain of essential medical equipment, announced the signing of the procurement of AstraZeneca’s AZD7442 into the local market, according to a statement issued on Wednesday.

The new and innovative medication is specifically designed to prevent severe infection and death in non-vaccinated high-risk patients.

This agreement comes in line with the country’s efforts to combat Covid-19, making the UAE amongst the first group of countries to receive the antibody medication for immunocompromised patients.

Abu Dhabi has led an effective human-centred response based on collaboration with leading local and international pharmaceutical companies since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. For AZD7442, the Department of Health has worked on establishing a seamless supply chain process via Rafed, which will facilitate the procurement, storage, and distribution of the AstraZeneca medication through the Rafed Distribution Center, the region’s largest facility specialised in cold-storage.

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The availability of AZD7442 in the local market is a primary solution for the healthcare sector in the fight against Covid-19, ensuring the health and safety of all community members, regardless of their medical condition.

According to Dr. Jamal Mohammed Alkaabi, Undersecretary of the Department of Health – Abu Dhabi, “The UAE continues to exhibit unprecedented leadership, with Abu Dhabi at its core, when it comes to a human-centred Covid-19 response. The public-private partnership behind AZD7442, the world’s first long-acting antibody Covid-19 medication, is yet another example of the UAE’s successful pandemic response thus far.”


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“This medication will protect immunocompromised patients who could not receive the vaccine due to medical reasons and limiting autoimmune disorders. The UAE will continue to act as a catalyst for change by leveraging collaborations, both regionally and internationally,” Al Kaabi added.

Rashed Al Qubaisi, CEO of Rafed, added: “Through our strategic logistics partner network, Rafed is establishing an infrastructure to ensure a streamlined distribution across the UAE and potentially the Middle East & Africa.”

The signing of the agreement follows a declaration made by DoH and AstraZeneca to collaborate in the areas of innovation, clinical research, real world evidence generation, digital health and the global positioning of Abu Dhabi as a life Science hub.

As a result of its successful and coordinated pandemic response, Abu Dhabi was ranked as one of the top cities in the world based for its response to Covid-19, according to the London-based analytics consortium, Deep Knowledge Group (DKG).

Apart from Sotrovimab and AZD7442, in February RAK Hospital introduced Bamlanivimab – an antibody treatment for mild to moderate symptoms in Covid-positive adults who are not yet hospitalised but at high risk of developing severe symptoms.

What is AZD7442?

AZD7442 is a combination of two long-acting antibodies – tixagevimab (AZD8895) and cilgavimab (AZD1061) – derived from B-cells donated by convalescent patients after SARS-CoV-2 virus.

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