UAE's phase III Covid-19 inactivated vaccine trial reaches milestone of 15,000 volunteers

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covid-19 vaccine, coronavirus, health ministry, phase 3 trials

Abu Dhabi - Volunteers can still register through the portal

By Wam

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Published: Thu 13 Aug 2020, 1:16 PM

Last updated: Sat 15 Aug 2020, 9:23 AM

The Phase III trials of an inactivated vaccine for Covid-19 in the UAE have reached the target of 15,000 volunteers in less than a month, with individuals from 102 nationalities participating in the programme.

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 were a world first when they commenced in Abu Dhabi on July 16.

Volunteers across the UAE were invited to be part of the initiative dubbed 4Humanity, and 15,000 of them - including 4,500 Emiratis - have already received the first of two vaccine shots in the process.

Over 140 doctors, 300 nurses, and many more administrative and technical support staff helped to facilitate the vaccine trial.

Volunteers are now going through the next stage, receiving their second shot of the vaccine - developed by leading vaccine manufacturer Sinopharm CNBG - and undergoing regular monitoring and health checks.

Interested participants can still register through the portal

'A nation of extraordinary people'

Since its launch last month, the #4Humanity trials have captured the imagination of the UAE's multinational population eager to help fulfil the UAE leadership's commitment to overcome the pandemic through a global collaborative effort.

Volunteers have benefitted from quick and simple protocols, enabling them to easily access walk-in centres at ADNEC in Abu Dhabi and Al Qarain Health Centre in Sharjah to be registered, screened and administered their first vaccination in one visit.

Commenting on the achievement, Dr Abdul Rahman bin Mohammad bin Nasser Al Owais, Minister of Health and Prevention, said, "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."

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 a Phase III inactivated vaccine for Covid-19 - and has already received both shots.

"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," he said.

Jingjin Zhu, President of Sinopharm Group Biological Products, noted, "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 range of volunteers."

G42 Healthcare CEO Ashish Koshy noted that 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," he said.

Race for a cure

Several other countries have also begun Phase III trials.

> In the first extension of the 4Humanity programme outside the UAE, hundreds of people are now volunteering for the Phase III trials in Bahrain.  

> China's Sinovac Biotech Ltd launched a late-stage human trial on Tuesday that will involve as many as 1,620 patients in Indonesia for a COVID-19 vaccine candidate.

> Phase III clinical trials of vaccines, developed by Moderna and Pfizer under Operation Warp Speed, also began in July, with a targetted 30,000 volunteers across the United States.

> Meanwhile, phase III clinical trials for a Russian coronavirus vaccine are due to run in the Philippines from October to March 2021.

> Private vaccine maker Serum Institute of India (SII) is also set to conduct experimental testing in India, and has sought permission to conduct Phase 2 and 3 human clinical trials on 4,000-5,000 people across Pune and Mumbai.

> Earlier this week, Saudi Arabia too announced plans to conduct a clinical trial of another China-developed vaccine on at least 5,000 volunteers. The vaccine has produced an immune response in earlier trials in China.

> Russia on Tuesday became the first country to grant regulatory approval for a Covid-19 vaccine, less than two months after it began human testing.

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