(Precision Vaccinations) – In a historic move, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) announced on March 28, 2021, the commencement of the manufacturing of a COVID-19 vaccine in the country.
The vaccine, called Hayat-Vax [Hayat means life in Arabic], is the first indigenous COVID-19 vaccine in the region that will be manufactured by a newly created JV between Sinopharm China National Pharmaceutical Group Co., Ltd. (CNBG) and G42, the leading technology company based in Abu Dhabi.
The JV is already producing Hayat-Vax with its partner, Julphar, in the UAE, which has an initial capacity of 2 million vaccine doses per month.
This announcement also launched a purpose-built research and development hub for life sciences, biotechnology, and vaccine production in KIZAD, Abu Dhabi.
The new vaccine plant in KIZAD will become operational in 2021. Its phased development will have a production capacity of 200 million vaccine doses per annum across three filling lines and five automated packaging lines.
Hayat-Vax is the same Sinopharm CNBG’s BiBP inactivated vaccine officially registered by the UAE Ministry of Health and Prevention on December 9, 2020, following the updated Sinopharm interim study results submitted in China, showing 79.34% vaccine efficacy.
Sinopharm’s SARS-CoV-2 strain (WIV04 strain and GenBank number MN996528) was isolated from a patient in the Jinyintan Hospital, Wuhan, China in 2020.
In his comments on the landmark move by the UAE to commence vaccine production, His Highness Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan said in a press statement, “Life Sciences and Vaccine Manufacturing in our country is UAE’s contribution towards global efforts to address the COVID-19 pandemic that has affected the whole world, stressing that the UAE, with the guidance of its wise leadership, believes in the importance of strengthening collective international action.”
During 2020, G42 and Sinopharm CNBG successfully collaborated on conducting 4Humanity, the world’s first phase III clinical trial of inactivated vaccines across the Pan Arab region, with over 43,000 volunteers participating from over 125 nationalities.
CNBG (Sinopharm) is a healthcare group directly under the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the State Council, with 128,000 employees.