The world’s newest anti-viral medication for Covid-19, Sotrovimab, is now available for early treatment for selected patients with Covid-19 in the UAE.
Studies have shown the medicine prevents extreme illness and death in 85 per cent of early treatment cases and can work on all known variations to date.
The medication arrived in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday, making the UAE the first country in the world to receive the drug.
Sotrovimab is an antibody treatment that is delivered intravenously. It is a therapy, not a vaccine.
It can be used to treat adults and children above the age of 12 who meet certain criteria and are at risk of severe cases of Covid-19, under protocols developed by the National Scientific Committee.
After receiving positive scientific opinion from the European Medicines Agency, GlaxoSmithKline applied to have Sotrovimab approved for emergency use by the US Food and Drug Administration and the UAE Ministry of Health and Prevention.
It gained approval from both.
Abu Dhabi’s Department of Health and healthcare procurement company Rafed agreed with GlaxoSmithKline to ensure deliveries as early as June and July.
That means patients in the UAE will be among the first in the world to have access to the new therapy.
“We have been working very closely with the Department of Health and Rafed since the interim results of the clinical trials with Sotrovimab were available,” said Gizem Akalin, managing director of GlaxoSmithKline Gulf.
“The DoH and Rafed have been agile and passionate about accelerating patient access to promising new treatments to confront Covid-19.
“Our partnership with DoH and Rafed is holistic, securing early access to Sotrovimab so that the population in Abu Dhabi and UAE will be among the first in the world to get this new treatment.
“There is a great level of scientific and medical collaboration to ensure that medical teams are ready and equipped.
"We see this close co-operation as another sign of Abu Dhabi’s rapid development as a hub for first-class treatment, medicines research, logistics and manufacturing.”
The ministry's National Scientific Committee and Abu Dhabi’s Department of Health have worked on the treatment protocols to guide doctors in defining at-risk patients.
It ensures such patients have access to Sotrovimab according to their risk profile and eligibility criteria.
“This medicine is at the forefront of pharmaceutical advancement and is a powerful tool in our fight to end this pandemic," said Dr Jamal Al Kaabi, undersecretary for the health department.
"We look forward to implementing the eligibility criteria for emergency use of Sotrovimab as part of Abu Dhabi’s commitment to lead an all-encompassing Covid-19 response in prevention, treatment and care."