15,000 volunteers to take part in Covid-19 vaccine trial in Abu Dhabi

 khaleejtimes.com  07/16/2020 13:00:49  2  Ismail Sebugwaawo /Abu Dhabi
volunteers, DoH, vaccine trial, Abu Dhabi, Coronavirus outbreak, lockdown, pandemic, UAE coronavirus

Up to 15,000 volunteers from Abu Dhabi city and Al Ain will be taking part in the Covid-19 vaccine clinical trial that started in the Capital today, authorities have announced. Registration of volunteers will be conducted through a website, which will be launched shortly.

A partnership between the Abu Dhabi-based tech firm Group 42 (G42) and Chinese pharmaceutical giant Sinopharm, this clinical trial operation is the first global Phase 3 trial for an inactivated Covid-19 vaccine listed in the World Health Organisation.

Read on: Abu Dhabi health chief kicks off Phase 3 Covid-19 vaccine trials in UAE

Sheikh Abdullah bin Mohammed Al Hamed, chairman of the Department of Health - Abu Dhabi (DoH), was the first volunteer who received the vaccine earlier today. He was followed by Dr Jamal Al Kaabi, the department's acting undersecretary.

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The clinical trial will last for about three to six months, according to a statement from the Abu Dhabi government. It will be open to individual volunteers aged 18 to 60, who are living in Abu Dhabi city and Al Ain.During the process - which is being carried out by health practitioners from Abu Dhabi Health Services (Seha) - the volunteers are required to be available for follow-ups.

Seha and G42 Healthcare are working towards having a minimum of 5,000 volunteers in the first stage of the programme. Five Seha-run clinics in Abu Dhabi and Al Ain, as well as a mobile clinic, have been designated for the programme.

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"The UAE has been chosen as the preferred destination for the trials because of its diverse population of more than 200 nationalities, allowing for robust research across multiple enthnicities and increasing its feasiblity for global application," Ashish Koshy, CEO of G42 Healthcare, said on Thursday during a virtual Press briefing in Abu Dhabi."Also, the UAE has been at the forefront of fighting the pandemic since the outbreak and has participated in research for trying to find the Covid-19 vaccine." Koshy added that G42 Healthcare will be running the clinical operations for the procedure.Phase 3 is the last stage of a vaccine's clinical trials. It evaluates the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine on a larger segment of people. If it is confirmed safe and effective throughout the process, the vaccine enters the large-scale manufacturing phase.

The trials in Abu Dhabi follows the success of the first two phases conducted in China, which saw 100 per cent of volunteers generate antibodies after two doses in 28 days.

How to volunteerDr Nawal Ahmed Mohamed Al Kaabi, UAE principal investigator of Sheikh Khalifa Medical City CMO and chairperson of the National Covid-19 Clinical Management Committee, said a protocol is in place for the selection of the 15,000 trial participants."It will include Emiratis and residents of various nationalities and they should be in good health and not suffering from chronic diseases. Also, they should have no history of having been infected with Covid-19," said Al Kaabi.Patients will be given two doses within a period of three weeks and there will be monthly follow-ups for a year, she explained."The volunteering patiets will not be admitted in hospitals but we shall be monitoring them closely. There will be regular face-to-face meetings."With the success of the previous stages of clinical trials, "we don't expect any risks of volunteering patients getting infected with Covid-19 or other side-effects in this trial phase", she added.

ismail@khaleejtimes.com

Ismail Sebugwaawo

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