The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has become the first country in the Arab world to begin manufacturing a COVID-19 vaccine with a full production schedule underway.
Hayat-Vax, a joint collaboration between Sinopharm CNBG and Abu Dhabi’s G42, was announced earlier this week during the launch of a new purpose-built research and development hub for life sciences, biotechnology and vaccine production in the capital’s KIZAD hub.
“The launch of the vaccine manufacturing capabilities in the UAE is a momentous step in the fight against COVID-19,” said Peng Xiao, CEO of G42. “We are grateful to the shared vision of the UAE and China, their true partnership and collaboration to make this a reality. This initiative in the UAE is a strategic advancement to future proof the population health of our nations. Our joint venture is also actively looking to bring our capabilities to new markets around the world.”
WHY IT MATTERS
Last year, G42 had joined forces with Sinopharm CNBG to test the first phase III clinical trial of inactivated vaccines across the region, with over 43,000 volunteers from over 125 nationalities participating.
“When COVID-19 began to spread rampantly last year, the UAE and its leading technology company G42 explored the possibility of hosting the clinical trials of a COVID-19 vaccine in the country,” said Liu Jingzhen, Chairman of Sinopharm CNBG. “Sinopharm has undertaken the mission of fighting this pandemic and thanks to the close collaboration with the UAE, Sinopharm’s vaccine has been now administered to millions of people in the country, the region, and the world in a fundamental step towards defeating this virus.
“We are proud to partner with G42 in this new joint venture that will play a vital role in combating COVID-19 globally, making an indelible contribution to the health of our communities.”
The new vaccine plant is aiming to produce at least 200 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine per annum. At present, around two million doses of Hayat-Vax will be produced per month in a plant owned by pharmaceutical company Julphar in Ras Al Khaimah until the newly launched plant is fully operational.
According to a statement, Sinopharm CNBG has supplied over 100 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine around the world so far.
THE LARGER CONTEXT
The UAE’s Ministry of Health and Prevention (MoHAP) has confirmed that over 8.3 million vaccine doses have been administered in the country so far, bringing the dose rate to 84.01 per 100 people. Meanwhile, just over 5% of the global population has been reportedly vaccinated.
The country’s official COVID-19 contact tracing app, Al Hosn, will now also serve as the national vaccine registry, after it was updated to include a function that includes details of residents’ vaccine doses.
The app, which can be downloaded on Android or iOS, is currently available in Arabic, English and Hindi.
ON THE RECORD
“The advancement in life sciences and vaccine manufacturing in our country is the UAE’s contribution towards global efforts to address the COVID-19 pandemic that has affected the whole world,” said His Highness Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation. “The UAE, with the guidance of its wise leadership, believes in the importance of strengthening collective international action.”