ABU DHABI / WAM
Since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, Abu Dhabi has presented an exemplary model for pandemic response, recovery and mitigation. The model saw the emirate topping several lists as it was consistently named among the world’s leading cities in effective pandemic response.
The emirate ensured the health and safety of its community by providing treatments that satisfy the needs of all segments. This includes providing preventive treatments for individuals who are unable to be vaccinated and those who are infected, whether they suffer from moderate, mild, or severe symptoms. The capital’s ongoing efforts remain in line with the belief in the need to unify global efforts to enhance healthcare in the emirate and the world.
Dr Jamal Al Kaabi, Under-Secretary of the Department of Health – Abu Dhabi (DoH), said, “Thanks to the directives of our wise leadership, Abu Dhabi spared no effort to preserve the health and safety of community members during the pandemic, by providing treatments that meet everyone’s needs. We consolidated our cooperation ties with distinguished global partners to contribute to establishing the emirate as an innovation hub for a healthier Abu Dhabi; upgrade the pioneering model presented by the emirate in mitigating the pandemic’s repercussions; and continue to empower national competencies and capabilities.”
As part of its ongoing efforts to ensure the health and safety of all citizens and residents, the Emirate of Abu Dhabi added AstraZeneca’s Evusheld to the existing medications that are already available in the emirate, which saw the UAE be among the first countries in the world to receive a global shipment of this medication. This partnership was forged as part of the emirate’s ongoing efforts to establish a means of cooperation with various pioneering international companies and institutions in the field of pharmaceutical industry and medical research, in order to provide the most advanced treatments in the world – ones that ensure the health and safety of all those who call Abu Dhabi home.
The long-acting antibody medication is designed to prevent severe infection and death amongst immunocompromised patients and those who are unvaccinated. Evusheld doses arrived in Abu Dhabi following a collaboration of Rafed and AstraZeneca in the presence of DoH officials, as part of a series of new partnerships that the emirate is establishing to strengthen its position as a leading destination for life sciences in the region.
Sameh El Fangary, Country President – GCC and Pakistan, AstraZeneca, said, “Abu Dhabi has been at the forefront of tackling the pandemic and its impactful response is a testament to the visionary leadership of the UAE. We are proud to collaborate with DoH to build a more resilient, sustainable and robust healthcare system to position the capital as a life sciences hub. We welcome Abu Dhabi’s decision in being among the first to procure and receive doses of our long-acting antibody combination, Evusheld, for the prevention of Covid-19.”
“Our recent MoU signed with G42 to further enhance clinical research and diagnostics frameworks in the UAE along with our partnership with the UAE’s leading healthcare supply chain, Rafed, demonstrates our long-term commitment to improve patient lives in the UAE and globally. We will continue to advance scientific innovation and fast recovery to help solve some of the greatest issues facing societies today,” he added.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, Abu Dhabi forged other partnerships, including a collaboration with Roche, the world’s largest biotech company, to adopt the latter’s casirivimab and imdevimab for the prevention of the virus and the treatment of mild to moderate symptoms of Covid-19 patients. DoH and Roche announced a strategic partnership that contributes to the future of healthcare transformation by supporting real-world evidence generation and research guidelines, improving the process for health technology assessment as per global standards, and accelerating access to diagnostics and treatment innovations to establish the emirate as a life science hub for a healthier Abu Dhabi.
The Roche treatment is composed of two monoclonal antibodies: casirivimab and imdevimab. Together, they form a monoclonal antibody combination with the potential both to treat patients with Covid-19 and prevent disease in those who may be exposed to the virus. The treatment has been approved in the European Union and Japan, and conditionally approved in the UK and Australia. In addition, the treatment is authorised for emergency use or temporary pandemic use in the United States, India, Switzerland and Canada, and is recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
Dr Mohamed El Shaarawy, General Manager, UAE Roche Pharmaceuticals, said, “Our fight against Covid-19 needs multiple approaches to ensure that infections and associated diseases can be prevented and treated with the best outcomes for our patients. At Roche, we responded immediately to the Covid-19 pandemic by leveraging our expertise in infectious diseases and building partnerships to devise options that support the global and local response. A year on, from the onset of the pandemic, the Roche Pharma Covid-19 portfolio comprised diverse treatment options with distinct Mode of actions (antivirals and immunomodulators) that may cover various stages of the Covid-19 patient journey. We are honoured to have our collaboration with DoH to support their efforts and vision as a world-class healthcare ecosystem and spearhead the latest advancements for Covid-19 prevention and treatment.”
Additionally, Abu Dhabi was the first city in the world to receive Sotrovimab, following emergency use authorisation by the US Food and Drug Administration in June 2021. Sotrovimab is a monoclonal antibody treatment delivered through intravenous therapy. Sotrovimab can be used to treat adults and children above the age of 12 who meet certain criteria and are at risk of progressing to severe Covid-19 symptoms, as per protocols that have been developed by the National Scientific Committee. This followed the signing of a Declaration of Collaboration between DoH and leading global healthcare company, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK).
Gizem Akalin, PhD, Vice President and Managing Director, GSK Gulf, said, “GSK has experienced an outstanding collaboration with DoH in our efforts to defeat the pandemic in Abu Dhabi. We have worked with policymakers, senior officials and front-line healthcare providers on a daily basis to ensure that patients have had full access to our innovative, highly effective treatment. At every step of the way, DoH has demonstrated a model of nimbleness, creativity and determination to be emulated, which helped in managing the pandemic successfully. Abu Dhabi has set a new benchmark in effective pandemic response and presents a highly relevant global model of successful industry-government partnership in an emergency health situation.”
In compliance with its ongoing efforts to improve healthcare in the emirate and the health and well-being of community members, DoH also cooperates with a number of international companies specialised in medical solutions, pharmaceutical industries and diagnostics, including Pfizer, one of the world’s premier biopharmaceutical companies, to enhance clinical research capacity and bolster national competencies in Abu Dhabi. Both parties announced a mutual agreement that focuses on developing clinical trials conduct and enhancing research efforts and medical processes in the emirate. Pfizer will support DoH in establishing a training curriculum that is specialised in advancing the early phase of clinical trials and drug development programmes. Through this collaboration, Pfizer seeks to train up to 150 clinical researchers within 2 year, supporting DoH aim of reaching 500 qualified clinical researchers by 2025.
Furthermore, DoH became the first healthcare regulator in the region and the second globally to adopt and develop the Population Health Model (PHM). This innovative model will help with the early detection, management and comprehensive prevention programme of cardiovascular diseases (CVDs). This came as part of a cooperation with the Swiss multinational pharmaceutical company, Novartis, and in line with the department’s continued efforts in positioning the emirate as a global healthcare destination and an incubator for innovation. In addition, the PHM contributes to enhancing preventive measures against CVDs and reducing the number of CVD cases and its complications among the emirate’s residents by providing data that enables healthcare professionals to deliver the necessary recommendations and preventive programmes for patients.
The capital has recently bolstered means of joint cooperation with Belgium, as a leading global centre of pharmaceutical industries, to establish a global air corridor for the distribution of vaccines and pharmaceutical products between Abu Dhabi and Brussels. This collaboration is based on the capabilities of Abu Dhabi’s healthcare sector as a leading life sciences hub and in line with the HOPE Consortium’s efforts in providing and delivering vaccine solutions to the world.