UAE approves COVID-19 vaccine for health workers

Sheikh Abdullah bin Mohammed Al-Hamed, chairman of the Abu Dhabi's Department of Health, undergoing a clinical trial for the third phase of a vaccine for COVID-19. (WAM/File)
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Updated 14 September 2020

UAE approves COVID-19 vaccine for health workers

  • The vaccine will be available to first line of defense heroes
  • Only mild side effects have been reported so far

DUBAI: The UAE on Monday granted emergency approval for health workers to use a COVID-19 vaccine currently in its third phase of testing.
Health minister Abdulrahman Al-Owais said the vaccine would be available for “first-line-of-defense heroes, who are most at risk of catching COVID-19, protecting them from any danger that they may be exposed to due to the nature of their work.”
He added: “This emergency use of the vaccine is fully and completely compatible with the regulations and laws that allow a faster review of licensing procedures.”
The vaccine is one of 26 in the world that have reached the human trials stage.
It was developed by China-based pharmaceutical company Sinopharmin. The UAE was chosen for the third phase of human testing, with the trial starting in July in conjunction with Abu Dhabi-based company G42 Healthcare and the Abu Dhabi government.
Al-Owais said the results from final stages of the third phase trials “showed that the vaccine is safe, effective and resulted in a strong response through the generation of antibodies against the virus.”
He added: “These steps are taken with the goal of preserving the lives of millions of people and providing health care for the infected.”
Dr. Nawal Al-Kaabi, head of the National Clinical Committee for Coronavirus, said some 31,000 volunteers, including 125 nationalities, had taken part in the clinical trials.
He said only mild side effects have been reported so far as expected with any vaccine. No one has encountered any severe side effects.
The announcement comes amid a surge in new COVID-19 cases in the UAE, which reported 1,007 cases on Saturday, its highest since the start of the pandemic. There were 777 new cases on Monday.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, inactivated vaccines — made with either inactivated (killed) viruses or with a protein from the virus — are well known and have been used against diseases such as influenza and measles.
Russia in August become the first country in the world to grant regulatory approval to a coronavirus vaccine, after less than two months of human testing. 
(With Reuters)


Iran breaks its record for most new coronavirus cases in one day

Updated 12 min 5 sec ago

Iran breaks its record for most new coronavirus cases in one day

  • Iran, which emerged early on as an epicenter of the virus, has seen its worst wave of deaths from the illness in recent weeks
TEHRAN: Iran on Tuesday reported its highest single-day toll of new coronavirus cases since the start of the pandemic with more than 5,000 new infections, as the country struggles to cope with a surge in transmission.
Iran’s health ministry also reported that 322 people had died from the virus, pushing the death toll over 31,000. The new infection count on Tuesday eclipsed the previous high of 4,830 last week, shining a light on the nation’s floundering efforts to combat the virus.
Iran, which emerged early on as an epicenter of the virus, has seen its worst wave of deaths from the illness in recent weeks. Monday’s death toll shattered its previous single-day record, prompting state news outlets to declare it a “black day.”
Hospitals in the hard-hit capital of Tehran are overflowing. Last week, health officials announced that the city had run out of intensive care beds for virus patients.
The increase comes after Iranians packed cafes and restaurants at vacation spots during recent national holidays, and after schools reopened for in-person instruction last month.
The government has resisted a total lockdown because it does not want to further weaken an economy already devastated by unprecedented US sanctions. The Trump administration re-imposed economic sanctions on Iran after withdrawing in 2018 from Tehran’s nuclear accord with world powers.
With the death toll skyrocketing, authorities are now starting to impose more restrictions. The government closed museums, libraries, beauty salons, schools and universities in Tehran earlier this month, and imposed a mask mandate outdoors.