- Abu Dhabi received first global Evusheld shipment on December 20
- In partnership with Etihad Cargo, AstraZeneca, and Department of Health-Abu Dhabi
- Storage and distribution of the medication will be facilitated through the Rafed Distribution Center in Abu Dhabi
ABU DHABI, UAE – December 20, 2021: Abu Dhabi received the first global shipment of AstraZeneca’s Evusheld, long-acting antibody medication, after gaining Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) from the UAE’s Ministry of Health and Prevention. The long-acting antibody medication is designed to prevent severe infection and death amongst immunocompromised patients.
This medication will be in addition to the existing COVID19 medications that are already available within Abu Dhabi and the UAE to ensure the continuity of world-class care in the country.
Under the leadership of the Department of Health – Abu Dhabi (DoH), the first doses of Evusheld have arrived in Abu Dhabi on December 20th following a collaboration of key partners including Rafed, the UAE’S Primary Group Purchasing Organization and the procurement arm of the UAE, along with Etihad Cargo, the national cargo carrier of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, in addition to AstraZeneca, the British-Swedish multinational pharmaceutical and biotechnology company, and Abu Dhabi Airports Company (ADAC). The breakthrough medication will be stored at Rafed’s Distribution Centre, the region’s largest cold-chain storage facility, and then distributed from there to various destinations.
The collaboration is another important milestone for healthcare, logistics and supply chain entities that continue to contribute to the evolution of Abu Dhabi’s medical sector. It reflects the directives of the UAE’s leadership and DoH’s efforts to focus on innovation, clinical research, real-world evidence generation, digital health and the global positioning of Abu Dhabi as a life science hub.
Abu Dhabi continues to top the world’s rankings for its response to the pandemic, topping a list of 50 leading world cities issued by London-based Deep Knowledge Group, confirming the emirate’s pioneering healthcare sector.
H.E. Dr. Jamal Mohammed Al Kaabi, Undersecretary of the Department of Health – Abu Dhabi, “Under the directives of our wise leadership, we are continuously working towards bringing innovative treatment and breakthrough solutions to the UAE. Our collaboration with leading global organisations is a key milestone for Abu Dhabi as it enforces our mission that is focused on safeguarding the health and wellbeing of residents and visitors in the emirate.”
Rashed Al Qubaisi, CEO of Rafed, added: “We are proud to be collaborate with leading global pharmaceutical manufacturers that support in the delivery of this new breakthrough medication to our nation. Through our strategic logistics partner network, Rafed is establishing an infrastructure to ensure a streamlined distribution across the UAE and potentially the Middle East & Africa.”
Martin Drew, Senior Vice President Sales and Cargo and Etihad Aviation Group said: ”Etihad Cargo is proud to have played such an integral role facilitating the transportation of the first Evusheld delivery with its specialist PharmaLife logistics solution.
Sameh Elfangary, AstraZeneca’s Country President, GCC and Pakistan, said “We are delighted to see the first doses of Evusheld arrive to the UAE, just over a week after being granted Emergency Use Authorization by the UAE Ministry of Health and Prevention. The UAE is one of the first countries globally to procure and receive doses of Evusheld. We appreciate the leading role that the UAE government continues to play in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic by providing early access to innovative medicines for its people.”
This Emergency Use Authorization further elevates Abu Dhabi’s standing as a regional life science hub which has been augmented through the emirate’s effective, human centered, COVID-19 response based on collaboration with leading local and international pharmaceutical companies.
Mohamed Hussein, General Manager of Abu Dhabi Airports Company added: “We are proud to partake in this partnership and support in bringing the innovative medication to the UAE. It is always our pleasure to collaborate with the different partners in Abu Dhabi and support our wise leadership towards ensuring the health and wellbeing of our beloved community.”
About Department of Health (DOH):
The Department of Health – (DOH) is the regulatory body of the Healthcare Sector at the Emirate of Abu Dhabi and ensures excellence in Healthcare for the community by monitoring the health status of the population. DOH defines the strategy for the health system, monitors and analyses the health status of the population and performance of the system. In addition, DOH shapes the regulatory framework for the health system, inspects against regulations, enforce standards, and encourages adoption of world – class best practices and performance targets by all healthcare service providers in the Emirate. DOH also drives programs to increase awareness and adoption of healthy living standards among the residents of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi in addition to regulating scope of services, premiums and reimbursement rates of the health system in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. For more information visit www.doh.gov.ae
Rafed aims to ensure the availability and quality of healthcare supplies and products for the United Arab Emirates’ healthcare sector, which include pharmaceuticals, equipment, diagnostics and consumables, and to reduce operating costs for healthcare providers. As a Group Purchasing Organisation (GPO), Rafed specialises primarily in healthcare procurement which includes supplier sourcing and contract management, procurement ordering services, warehousing, and distribution. Rafed was developed by ADQ, one of the region’s largest holding companies with a broad portfolio of major enterprises spanning key sectors of Abu Dhabi’s diversified economy.
Evusheld is a combination of two long acting antibodies – tixagevimab (AZD8895) and cilgavimab (AZD1061) – derived from B-cells donated by convalescent patients after SARS-CoV-2 virus. Discovered by Vanderbilt University Medical Center, US and licensed to AstraZeneca in June 2020, the human monoclonal antibodies bind to distinct sites on the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, blocking the binding of SARS-CoV-2 to virus host cells1 and were optimised by AstraZeneca with half-life extension and reduced Fc receptor and complement C1q binding. The half-life extension more than triples the durability of its action compared to conventional antibodies and could afford up to 12 months of protection from COVID-19 following a single administration.2-5 The reduced Fc receptor binding aims to minimise the risk of antibody-dependent enhancement of disease – a phenomenon in which virus-specific antibodies promote, rather than inhibit, infection and/or disease.
Evusheld is being studied in a comprehensive clinical trial programme for both prevention and treatment of COVID-19 in over 9,000 participants. In August 2021, AstraZeneca announced Evusheld demonstrated a statistically significant reduction in the risk of developing symptomatic COVID-19 in the PROVENT Phase III pre-exposure prevention trial. In October 2021, AstraZeneca announced Evusheld achieved statistically significant reduction in severe COVID-19 or death compared to placebo in non-hospitalised patients with mid-to-moderate symptomatic COVID-19 in the TACKLE Phase III trial. Ongoing trials include collaborator treatment trials in outpatient and hospitalised settings. Evusheld is being assessed in both IM and intravenous administration routes.
Evusheld is being developed with support from the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and funding from the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), part of the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). AstraZeneca is working with governments around the world to make Evusheld accessible to high-risk populations as another valuable option in the fight to end COVID-19, should it prove to be effective and well tolerated.