Abu Dhabi will host a study into the effectiveness of an antibody therapy created by AstraZeneca over the next 15 months.
AstraZeneca, in collaboration with Sheikh Khalifa Medical City hospital in Abu Dhabi, will conduct a real-world evidence study on Evusheld, which is designed to help prevent patients with poor immune systems from contracting Covid-19.
The multi-country observational study aims to offer critical real-world data on the safety and effectiveness of Evusheld.
It will support high-risk people across the UAE and the broader Middle East and Africa region by building a body of evidence on how Evusheld may protect against Covid-19.
Up to 1,000 people in Abu Dhabi are expected to take part in the trial, which is set to last until the end of 2023.
“The risk of infection from Covid-19 is far from over, especially for immunocompromised and vulnerable populations,” said Dr Nawal Al Kaabi, chief medical officer with the medical city, who is leading the study.
“Real-world evidence is imperative to help us better understand how the virus is evolving and establish additional tools to protect those at a higher risk.
“Looking beyond the pandemic, this innovative study will complement regional efforts to improve the quality of health care, advance the digitisation of medical data and meet the growing demand for locally-derived clinical data that captures our unique demographics.”
It is estimated that about two per cent of the world’s population has compromised immune systems and either respond insufficiently to vaccinations or not at all.
“As Covid-19 continues to cast its shadow over the world, it is important to continue protecting the health and safety of all members of community, especially the most vulnerable groups who are more prone to Covid-19 complications,” said Eva Turgonyi, AstraZeneca's medical director for the GCC and Pakistan.
“Unfortunately, there is a community of patients for whom vaccination does not offer adequate protection.
“By collecting real-world data from the United Arab Emirates, we can better understand how AstraZeneca's long-acting antibody combination Evusheld can protect immunocompromised patients and enable them to resume their everyday lives.”
Evusheld is a 'pre-exposure' treatment that can be given to adults and children aged 12 and above who are not infected with the coronavirus.
The drug generates antibodies for patients who have low immunity due to a medical condition or immunity conditions.
It is also aimed at people for whom vaccination is not recommended. Those who receive the drug should not be currently infected with or have had recent known exposure to a person infected with Covid.
The Ministry of Health and Prevention in December approved the use of the drug on an emergency basis, with the first shipment arriving in Abu Dhabi.
The medicine was found in a clinical trial to reduce the risk of developing symptomatic Covid by 77 per cent, with protection continuing for at least six months after one dose.
In March, AstraZeneca said its Evusheld treatment retains neutralising activity against the “emerging and highly transmissible” Omicron BA.2 sub-variant.
“We are pleased to witness the fruits of our collaborative efforts that bring us together with partners from around the world to position Abu Dhabi as a leading destination for health care and an incubator for innovation in life sciences,” said Dr Jamal Mohammed Al Kaabi, Undersecretary of the Department of Health and.
“Thanks to its advanced infrastructure, the emirate has been able to attract global partnerships with prestigious leaders in both the health and pharmaceutical sectors, those who chose Abu Dhabi as a leading destination to proceed with their innovative research projects.”