Coronavirus: Abu Dhabi hosts phase 3 trials of COVID-19 vaccine

Abu Dhabi staff wear protective clothing at a testing center. (File photo: Reuters)

An Abu Dhabi-based healthcare company has begun performing the world's first phase 3 trials for a coronavirus vaccine developed in partnership with a Chinese pharmaceutical group, according to the emirate's media office on Twitter.

The human trial taking place in Abu Dhabi is a partnership between Sinopharm’s China National Biotec Group (CNBG), Abu Dhabi based artificial intelligence and cloud computing company Group 42 (G42) and the Abu Dhabi Department of Health.

"Abu Dhabi-based G42 Healthcare is performing trials in cooperation with Sinopharm CNBG, under the administration of DoH and the Ministry of Health. The partnership will help provide quick access to the vaccine for UAE residents, with manufacturing taking place in #AbuDhabi," tweeted Abu Dhabi's media office.

Read the latest updates in our dedicated coronavirus section.

UAE chosen for diversity, facilities

According to a press release by G42, the UAE was chosen as the location for the trials because of its diversity.

"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," said G42.

The trials are expected to involve a minimum of 5,000 volunteers in the first stage of the program, with authorities having issued a permit to allow up to 15,000 to take part.

According to G42, the launch of the trial was attended by Chinese Ambassador to the UAE Ni Jian; senior health department officials and G42 Healthcare and Sinopharm CNBG representatives.

The first group of volunteers were given the vaccine at Sheikh Khalifa Medical City in Ajman on Thursday.

A man being vaccinated as part of the latest G42 trials in the UAE, July 16, 2020. (Abu Dhabi media office)

A man being vaccinated as part of the latest G42 trials in the UAE, July 16, 2020. (Abu Dhabi media office)

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G42 active in UAE's COVID-19 fight

The UAE-based artificial intelligence and cloud computing company G42 has been at the forefront of some of the country's coronavirus treatment and research projects.

In April, during the height of the outbreak, the technology set up a massive COVID-19 testing laborotory in partnership with the genomics company BGI. The laborotory reportedly took only 14 days to establish.

In June, G42 and UK-based Oxford Nanopore announced they will develop a high-scalable solution for coronavirus testing.

“The collaboration with Oxford Nanopore, a global leader in advanced sequencing products, accelerates G42’s ongoing endeavor to develop impactful applications for public health. This breakthrough solution is a result of the tireless effort by our joint teams under the extraordinary pressure of COVID-19. The worst of the pandemic has brought out the best in us,” said Peng Xiao, CEO of G42, at the time.

The group also uses artificial intelligence and computing to conduct research into drug therapies and map trends in the outbreak, such as virus mutations, as well as manufacturing personal protective equipment.

With Reuters.

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Last Update: Thursday, 16 July 2020 KSA 14:35 - GMT 11:35
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