DoH meets with delegation from Chinese pharmaceutical group to discuss clinical trials for potential COVID-19 vaccine

ABU DHABI, Abdullah bin Mohammed Al Hamed, Chairman of the Department of Health – Abu Dhabi (DoH), and Dr. Jamal Mohammad Al Kaabi, Acting Undersecretary of DoH, met with a delegation from the Sinopharm China National Biotec Group (CNBG) and Group 42 (G42) to discuss future plans as part of the first of three stages of clinical trials to find a potential vaccine for COVID-19 virus.

The Chinese pharmaceutical group and the leading Abu Dhabi-based Group 42 delegation specialising in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and cloud computing, have signed an agreement for mutual cooperation which aims to advance the clinical operations of the vaccine in the UAE under DoH’s supervision.

The two parties discussed the details of their coordination, including choosing the experts from both delegations who would work closely with one another to complete the clinical trials, in addition to the shipment details of the vaccines that would be produced as a result of these trials.

Abdullah bin Mohammed Al Hamed expressed his support for the cooperation between the UAE and Chinese delegations and highlighted that the UAE has begun to take important steps towards leading the clinical research related to the virus, in line with global efforts to search for a vaccine.

Al Hamed added: “In line with the directions of the wise UAE leadership, we are playing an important role in fighting this pandemic, particularly by coordinating with various parties, both local and international, for the health and wellbeing of society. Today, we are pleased to see the results of the collective work of DoH and its partners as they begin to analyse and plan, in coordination with all parties, to move forward in reviewing and monitoring one of the most important studies that will be carried out in Abu Dhabi.”

Dr. Jamal Mohammad Al Kaabi said: “The methodology for this study was designed in line with one of the most efficient methodologies for clinical studies. It is referred to as ‘randomised double blind clinical trials’, which can be implemented globally if carried out correctly. The researchers presented the evidence and results of the first and second stages of the study, which are a prerequisite for moving forward. Additionally, the researchers involved in the study are closely monitoring the volunteers throughout the process, ensuring the highest levels of safety for the participants.”

Dr. Al Kaabi continued, “DoH works closely with researchers and experts to ensure that the international requirements are adhered to throughout our trials, from the beginning to the end, in addition to the results of the study being adapted globally should the study prove successful use of one or both of the vaccinations. This is a decision made by DoH’s Medical Research Ethics Committee, which determines the success of a project in line with DoH’s mandate of ‘prevention is better than cure’ at world-class levels.”

The study has been confirmed to proceed after fulfilling all conditions and requirements of the clinical research, whilst also prioritising the safety of the volunteers.

The clinical trial process is usually divided into three phases; the first phase focuses on the safety of the vaccine, whilst phase II evaluates immunogenicity and explores the immunisation process in a limited number of individuals. Phase III considers the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine in a larger population sample. If a vaccine is confirmed safe and effective throughout the entire clinical trial process, the vaccine enters into the large-scale manufacturing phase.

The vaccine already passed phases I and II of the clinical trials without showing any serious negative reactions, with 100% of all volunteers generating antibodies.

The mutual cooperation between Group 42 and Sinopharm CNBG aims to accelerate the development of a safe and effective vaccine that could enter the market by the end of 2020 or early 2021 to benefit human race as a whole.

Today’s clinical trial commencement is the start of a series of national initiatives to foster public health and enhance the UAE’s medical research and development capabilities, including the nation’s capacity to manufacture the vaccine. These initiatives will be communicated on a regular basis as part of the UAE’s commitment to building a prosperous, knowledge-based economy.


Source: Emirates News Agency