Coronavirus: UAE approves new life-saving drug for emergency use

The UAE has approved the emergency use of a new drug that can help save the lives of patients with severe coronavirus.

Sotrovimab, produced by UK drug maker GlaxoSmithKline, can reduce Covid-19 deaths and hospitalizations by 85%.

The United Arab Emirates Department of Health and Prevention gave the drug the green light after its emergency use was approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday based on a successful trial involving 583 volunteers.

Laboratory tests have shown the drug to be effective against variants of the coronavirus.

The Emirates are the first country to approve the drug for emergency use, Wam news agency reported.

“The new drug will go a long way in speeding up patient recovery, reducing Covid-19-related deaths and the period of treatment in intensive care units,” said Abdulrahman Al Owais, Minister of Health and Prevention.

“It will also support the country’s efforts to perform Covid-19 tests and administer vaccines, maintaining its leadership position among the largest countries in the world, effectively dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic.”

Sotrovimab is a monoclonal antibody that can be used in patients over 12 years of age with mild to moderate Covid-19 who are at risk of severe disease.

Monoclonal antibodies are proteins made in the laboratory that mimic the ability of the immune system to fight pathogens.

When given early, it can reduce hospital stays longer than 24 hours and the number of deaths by up to 85%.

UAE authorities are working alongside drug developers to ensure that protocols are in place for its effective delivery in healthcare facilities.

New guidelines are in place to advise doctors on the appropriate use and how to refer patients to centers where Sotrovimab will be available.

The news follows an announcement that Abu Dhabi’s health ministry will offer booster shots of the Sinopharm vaccine at more than 100 vaccination centers across the emirate.

“From the early days of the pandemic, MoHAP’s strategy has focused on adopting promising new technologies, including tests, vaccines and treatments in our efforts to bring Covid-19 under control,” said Dr Mohamed Al Olama, undersecretary of the ministry.

“We were delighted to partner with GlaxoSmithKline to ensure the essentials are in place to ensure rapid access, from licensing and shipping to training and new guidelines for physicians.”

The United Arab Emirates became the first country to include treatment in its Covid care program due to their long-established strategic partnership with GlaxoSmithKline, the company said.

“We are working in close partnership with MoHAP to ensure that our innovative medicines and vaccines are available to patients who need them, a mission that has taken on a new emergency during the pandemic,” said Gizern Akalin, Managing Director and Vice -President for the Gulf.

To date, 547,008 people have recovered from Covid-19 in the United Arab Emirates, while the death toll stands at 1,673.

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Kristina McManus

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