UAE first country globally to receive revolutionary anti-COVID-19 medication

By Ashika Rajan, Trainee Reporter
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The world’s newest anti-viral medication for COVID-19, Sotrovimab, is now available for early treatment for selected patients in the UAE region.

According to studies, the medicine prevents extreme illness and death in 85 percent of early treatment instances and can work on all known variations to date.

The medication arrived in Abu Dhabi, making the UAE the first country in the world to receive the drug. Sotrovimab is an antibody treatment that is delivered intravenously. It is not a vaccine, but rather a therapy.

Under protocols developed by the National Scientific Committee, it can be used to treat adults and children over the age of 12 who meet certain requirements and are at risk of severe COVID-19 cases.

After gaining a favorable scientific opinion from the European Medicines Agency, GlaxoSmithKline pharmaceutical applied to get 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 (DoH) and healthcare procurement company Rafed reached an agreement with GlaxoSmithKline to ensure delivery as early as June and July. That means patients in the UAE will be among the first in the world to receive novel therapy.

Dr. Gizem Akalin, Managing Director of GlaxoSmithKline Gulf remarked that “we have been working very closely with the DoH and Rafed since the interim results of the clinical trials with Sotrovimab were available.”

“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. 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,” Dr. Akalin added.

The ministry’s National Scientific Committee and Abu Dhabi’s DoH have worked on the treatment procedures to guide doctors in defining at-risk patients. It ensures that such patients can get Sotrovimab based on their risk profile and eligibility criteria.

Dr. Jamal Al Kaabi, Undersecretary for the Health Department pointed that “Abu Dhabi continues in its efforts to maintain its number one city position globally in terms of resilience and safety in COVID-19 times.”

“Through the non-ending support and guidance from our leadership, we continue in our daily pre-emptive efforts to search, assess and source through local and international collaboration the best evidence-based treatment to our population in Abu Dhabi, the UAE, and beyond. 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,” Dr. Al Kaabi concluded.

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