Phase-III clinical trial of COVID-19 vaccine
In June 2020, the UAE commenced phase-III of clinical trial of inactivated COVID-19 vaccine. The clinical trial process is usually divided in three phases. Phase-I mainly looks into the safety of the vaccine. Phase-II evaluates the 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 to be safe and effective throughout the entire clinical trial process, the test is considered successful, and the vaccine enters the large-scale manufacturing phase.
The inactivated COVID-19 vaccine passed phases I and II of clinical trials without showing any serious adverse reactions. All volunteers of the clinical trials generated antibodies after two doses in 28 days.
Sinopharm China National Biotec Group (CNBG), a Chinese pharmaceutical company and Group 42 (G42), an artificial intelligence and cloud computing company based in Abu Dhabi signed a clinical cooperation agreement. G42 will lead the clinical trial operations in the UAE under the supervision of Department of Health - Abu Dhabi. A safe and effective vaccine could enter the market by the end of 2020 or early 2021 and relieve mankind of COVID-19.
As per information on 16 July 2020, very soon, Abu Dhabi will host the world’s first global clinical phase-III trials of COVID-19 inactivated vaccine enlisted by World Health Organisation (WHO). The UAE requested interested volunteers to register themselves for these trials through the 4humanity website. Read more on 'Volunteering for phase-III of clinical trial of COVID-19 vaccine'.
Read news coverage on the website of WAM.
Full genome sequencing of COVID-19
In April 2020, a research team at Mohammed Bin Rashid University of Medicine and Health Sciences-MBRU accomplished the UAE’s first full genome sequencing of the COVID-19 virus from a patient in Dubai. Genome sequencing can help trace the origin of infection in patients and develop an understanding of how the virus mutates and spreads from person to person. It is also valuable in developing treatments and vaccines and to develop strategies and actions against this virus.
MBRU aims to fully sequence the viral samples from 240 COVID-19 patients across various age groups and who were infected at different times of this pandemic. They will collect information to understand if different strains of the virus are associated with different levels of the severity of disease.
The genome of the virus causing COVID-19 consists of 30,000 genetic letters. Understanding the strain of the virus that the patients have, can help scientists understand how it spreads.
Read news coverage about full genome sequencing of the COVID-19 virus.
Covid-19 treatment with stem cells
In May 2020, the UAE successfully applied a treatment via stem cells to mitigate COVID-19 infections. The treatment involves extracting stem cells from the patient’s blood and reintroducing them after activating them. This helps in regenerating lung cells and enhancing the immune response and keeping it from damaging the healthy cells.
The treatment was given to 73 COVID-19 patients by making them inhale the treatment into their lungs after it has been converted into a fine mist.
Based on the initial phase of clinical trials, the treatment demonstrated its safety. None of the patients who have received the treatment reported immediate side effects and no interactions were found with the conventional treatment protocols for COVID-19 patients.
Trials to demonstrate the efficacy of the treatment are ongoing and are expected to be completed in the coming weeks.
The treatment was developed by a team of doctors and researchers at Abu Dhabi Stem Cell Center-ADSCC. Ministry of Economy granted a patent to the centre for the innovative method in which the stem cells are collected.
Read WAM’s coverage about COVID-19 treatment with stem cells.
Mohammed bin Rashid Medical Research Institute
Mohammed bin Rashid Medical Research Institute is the UAE’s first independent biomedical research centre. It was inaugurated in August 2020 to conduct research to address the COVID-19 pandemic and other viral diseases. The initial investment of the institute is AED 300 million. It is part of the Al Jalila Foundation.
The institute aims to prepare the next generation of researchers across various specialisations to create an integrated health map and provide the local, regional and global research community with a specialised medical research.
It seeks to position the UAE at the forefront of medical innovation regionally. It also provides a platform for researchers and specialists to exchange knowledge and expertise related to global medical developments.
Read news coverage on WAM.
Updated on 16 Sep 2020