Coronavirus: Thousands sign up for vaccine trial in Abu Dhabi

The UAE is home to the world's first World Health Organisation-enlisted Phase III study

Sheikh Abdullah bin Mohammed Al Hamed, chairman of the Department of Health Abu Dhabi, receives a vaccine during a clinical trial for the third phase of the inactive vaccine for Covid-19. Courtesy Wam. 
Sheikh Abdullah bin Mohammed Al Hamed, chairman of the Department of Health Abu Dhabi, receives a vaccine during a clinical trial for the third phase of the inactive vaccine for Covid-19. Courtesy Wam. 

Thousands of people have signed up to take part in a clinical trial for a Covid-19 vaccine in the UAE.

Abu Dhabi and Al Ain are home to the world’s first World Health Organisation-enlisted Phase-III trial, which is the final step before a vaccine is approved for use among the public.

Registrations for the trial opened on Thursday and 5,000 people living in the two cities signed up in the first 24 hours, the Department of Health Abu Dhabi said on Friday.

Volunteers have started receiving the first doses of the vaccine, officials said.

It is hoped that up to 15,000 people will take part in the trial for three to six months to monitor the inactivated vaccine's safety and efficacy.

Researchers across the world are racing to develop a vaccine against the coronavirus, which has infected more than 14 million people and killed at least 599,000.

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

The UAE trial is a partnership between Sinopharm, a Chinese vaccine manufacturer, Abu Dhabi-based artificial intelligence and cloud computing company Group 42, and Abu Dhabi's health department.

It is being conducted by Abu Dhabi Health Services Company, Seha, at five sites in the capital and Al Ain.

All those who took part in Phase-I and II trials for the vaccine, which took place in China, generated antibodies against the virus after being given the vaccine.

Officials said the UAE was selected to conduct the Phase-III trial because it is home to 200 nationalities, which will give researchers a glimpse into the effects of the vaccine on multiple ethnic groups.

Last week, Sheikh Abdullah bin Mohammed Al Hamed, chairman of the Department of Health Abu Dhabi, became the first volunteer to take part in the trial.

He was followed by Dr Jamal Al Kaabi, the acting undersecretary of the department.

Almost anyone between the ages of 18 and 60 is eligible to sign up for the study, provided they pass a thorough medical exam.

However, anyone suffering from chronic illnesses, or who is pregnant, cannot take part.

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

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Gallery: Coronavirus around the Middle East

Updated: July 18, 2020 12:16 PM

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