Covid vaccine trial centre opens in Sharjah

By Eudore R. Chand

SHARJAH 6 August 2020: The Ministry of Health and Prevention (MoHAP), has announced it will host the world’s first Phase III clinical trials of an inactivated vaccine to combat Covid-19, which was developed by Abu Dhabi-based G42 Healthcare and Sinopharm CNBG, the world’s sixth largest vaccine manufacturer.

The ministry said it is now dedicating the Al Qarayen Health Centre in Sharjah as the first centre outside the Emirate of Abu Dhabi to register, screen and test volunteers wishing to participate in the world’s first Phase III clinical trials of an inactivated vaccine to combat Covid-19.

The move has been taken in cooperation with the Abu Dhabi Department of Health, Abu Dhabi Health Services Company (Seha) and G42 Healthcare.

Al Qarayen Health Centre has the capacity to register and screen over 500 volunteers a day and is open to residents from Sharjah and neighbouring emirates as the trials continue to gather nationwide momentum since the launch of #4Humanity campaign on July 16, 2020.

It is being managed by G42 Healthcare in partnership with MoHAP and will play a central role in facilitating procedures for registering volunteers and conducting necessary tests.

The centre has enough space and facilities that help register and conduct medical tests for volunteers according to the best scientific standards, and is open to residents from Dubai, Sharjah and the Northern Emirates.

The phase III clinical trials follow the success of the phase I and phase II trials conducted by Sinopharm in China, which resulted in 100 percent of the volunteers generating antibodies after two doses in 28 days. The phase III trials are open to individual volunteers aged between 18 and 60 living in the UAE and will last for three to six months, with the volunteers required to be available for follow ups during this time.

MoHAP exempts vaccine volunteers from covid tests

MoHAP, in coordination with the Department of Health – Abu Dhabi, has exempted volunteers of the Phase III Covid-19 vaccine trials from performing any other Covid-19 tests outside the trial’s framework.

The ministry also decided to use the ALHOSN app to identify volunteers so they can benefit from the exemption, and they are required to install the application on their smartphones.

The volunteers of the trial’s third phase, which began last month in Abu Dhabi, will be given two doses of the vaccine and monitored remotely via phone calls to monitor their health situation and assess the effectiveness of the vaccine over a 49-day period.

The decision was made to ensure that volunteers follow the required procedures during all phases of the trial.

ALHOSN UAE is the official Emirati application for Covid-19 testing and is the outcome of a cooperation between the ministry and local health authorities.

Senior AD health officials take second shot of vaccine

Abu Dhabi’s senior health officials, who were the very first volunteers, have now received the second shot of the Covid-19 inactivated vaccine as the 4Humanity Phase III clinical trials build momentum in the UAE.

Sheikh Abdullah bin Mohammed Al Hamed, Chairman of Department of Health – Abu Dhabi, and the Department’s Acting Undersecretary, Dr. Jamal Al Kaabi, had been the first two volunteers to receive shots in the trials that officially commenced on 16th July. Both officials have displayed no side effects and have demonstrated strong antibody and robust immune responses to the trials to date following expert medical supervision.

The interim reports for the two officials, which adheres to strict monitoring protocols, including face-to-face medical examinations by Day 3 and Day 8 after the first shot, and a telephone follow-up by Day 7 and again on Day 14, have revealed that both the inaugural volunteers have responded very positively to date.

The trials are enhancing medical research and development capabilities here in Abu Dhabi, including the local capacity to manufacture the vaccine. The process is being conducted following the international guidelines stipulated by the World Health Organization, WHO, and the United States Food and Drug Administration.

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