Coronavirus: Drop-in field clinic set up to meet demand for Abu Dhabi vaccine trial

The new facility at Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre is able to serve up to 1,000 vaccine volunteers a day

A dedicated field clinic to serve thousands of volunteers for the UAE's Covid-19 vaccine trial has been established in Abu Dhabi.

The emirate's health department has joined forces with AI company Group 42 to set up the specialised facility at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre.

The Phase 3 clinical trial is being led by Abu Dhabi health officials in partnership with Group 42 and Chinese drug maker Sinopharm.

It is being supervised by Abu Dhabi's health department in accordance with guidelines outlined by the World Health Organisation and the Food and Drug Administration of the United States.

The newly-opened clinic will allow for potential volunteers to be registered, examined and selected for the programme.

The centre will be able to accommodate up to 1,000 volunteers per day.

Those wishing to take part in the 42-day vaccine trials can drop in at the clinic without a prior appointment seven days a week, from 8am until 8pm.

More than 10,000 people representing 42 nationalities had already offered to take part in the initiative by late July.

The vaccine being trialled in Abu Dhabi is 'inactivated'.

It is one type of vaccine designed to protect people against the disease and uses a “killed” version of the virus that causes the illness.

Phase 3 trials typically evaluate the effectiveness of a drug on a large population sample and scientists hope it will help identify specific antibodies that provide immunity.

More than 20 vaccines are in clinical trials globally, while another 140 are in early development globally against the disease. Only three are in phase 3 trials.

The UAE trial will place at five sites in the capital and Al Ain. About 5,000 volunteers will be involved in the study at first, the health department said.

Trials for Phase-1 and 2 took place in China.

Up to 15,000 volunteers are wanted and they must be in good health and between the ages of 18 to 60. Sheikh Abdullah bin Mohammed Al Hamed, chairman of the Department of Health Abu Dhabi, was the first volunteer to receive the jab.

Hamad Al Balushi, an Emirati taking part in the trial and one of the first to be given the vaccine hopes that the study will be of benefit "to both the UAE and global communities", a statement from the health department on Friday said.

Another volunteer from Oman spoke of his pride to be one of the first volunteers "in this historic trial and invite all my brothers and sisters to join me".

Volunteers must visit testing centres a minimum of 17 times over about 42 days.

They cannot travel abroad during this time. After the trial, they will have regular phone consultations for up to six months.

"The campaign not only helps in combating Covid-19 but will provide a highly effective approach to measuring the vaccine’s effects," said Dr Nawal Al Kaabi, the chair of the National Clinical Committee for Covid-19 and the executive medical director at Sheikh Khalifa Medical City.

Volunteers for the Abu Dhabi trial can register at 4humanity.ae or by calling 02 819 1111.

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Abu Dhabi vaccine trial - in pictures

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