Abu Dhabi procures new drug to treat unvaccinated COVID-19 patients

Abu Dhabi Procures New Drug To Treat Unvaccinated Covid 19 Patients

The Department of Health-Abu Dhabi has announced the procurement of the new AZD7442 antibody-drug made by AstraZeneca to reduce severe COVID-19 infections among high-risk patients. The medication will help in reducing severe infections and deaths from COVID-19 in non-vaccinated people across hospitals in the emirate.

Notably, the UAE is one of the first countries to procure the drug, particularly used in immunocompromised patients. These patients include those who cannot take the COVID-19 vaccine and those when vaccinated do not develop enough antibodies to fight the infection.

In addition, chronic disease and autoimmune disorders such as type 1 diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis increase the risk of viral infection among patients. As soon as the drug is approved for use across the UAE, at-risk patients will be prioritised if they contradict COVID-19.

According to Dr. Jamal Al Kaabi, undersecretary of the Department of Health-Abu Dhabi, once approved the medication will help immunocompromised patients who are not able to take the vaccine due to medical reasons and limit autoimmune disorders.

“The UAE continues to exhibit unprecedented leadership, with Abu Dhabi at its core when it comes to a human-centered Covid-19 response. The UAE will continue to act as a catalyst for change by leveraging collaborations, both regionally and internationally," Dr. Al Kaabi added.

The official further underlined the public-private partnership behind AZD7442 will be a crucial factor in bringing the first long-acting antibody in the world to the UAE.

The DoH has been working with Rafed, the UAE’s primary group purchasing organisation for essential medical equipment, to procure drug supplies to help vulnerable individuals during the pandemic.

According to data of the Phase 3 trials, drug benefits patients in both prophylaxis and treatment of COVID-19. The DoH has established a supply chain process with Rafed to buy, store and distribute the AstraZeneca medication. The drug will be distributed through Rafed Distribution Centre, the largest facility specialising in cold storage in the region.

With the signing of the agreement, a declaration has been made by the DoH and AstraZeneca to enhance collaboration in areas of innovation, clinical research, real world evidence generation, digital health to amplify Abu Dhabi's global position as a life-science hub.

Rafed chief executive Rashed Al Qubaisi underlined that the UAE is demonstrating its commitment to safeguarding the health and wellbeing of all citizens and residents by partnering with leading pharmaceutical manufacturers from around the world.

“AZD7442 brings great hope to patients with various immune disorders who are not able to take the Covid-19 vaccine. Through our strategic logistics partner network, Rafed is establishing an infrastructure to ensure a streamlined distribution across the UAE, and potentially the Middle East and Africa," Al Qubaisi added.

Successful drug trials

In August, AstraZeneca announced the results of drug trials of the medication. As per the results, AZD7442 reduced the risk of COVID-19 infections by 77 percent compared with a placebo.

Meanwhile, randomised trials in 5,197 people showed no severe cases of COVID-19 or related deaths among those individuals who took the medication. On the other hand, there were three cases of severe COVID-19, including two deaths, in the trial’s placebo section.

Over 75 percent of participants in the trial had co-morbidities which placed them at greater risk of worsening symptoms of COVID-19.

Sameh El Fangary, GCC and Pakistan cluster president for AstraZeneca, named the collaboration a landmark moment to help unvaccinated people against the COVID-19 disease.

“This demonstrates our commitment to bringing innovative medicines to the UAE and the rest of the GCC, to provide patients with better health outcomes now and in the future,” he added.

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