ABU DHABI: A real-world evidence study on the results of AstraZeneca’s Evusheld in protecting immunocompromised patients in the UAE from symptomatic COVID-19 has been launched in Abu Dhabi, the Emirates News Agency reported.
The study aims to offer critical data on the safety and efficacy of the long-acting antibody combination and is one of the many outcomes of a collaboration deal signed between the Department of Health Abu Dhabi and AstraZeneca last year.
As part of the department’s strategy to increase patient access to quality healthcare services, the agreement aims to improve research and development in health sciences and boost innovation in the healthcare sector.
The EVOLVE Real World Evidence Study, which is expected to continue until the end of 2023 with up to 1,000 participants, involves a linkup between AstraZeneca and Abu Dhabi’s Sheikh Khalifa Medical City hospital, overseen by the UAE capital’s health department.
Abu Dhabi was among a number of cities to receive the first global shipment of Evusheld, a long-acting antibody medication.
The multi-country, prospective observational study will help high-risk individuals in the UAE, and the wider Middle East and Africa region by accumulating evidence on how the treatment may protect against COVID-19.
Dr. Jamal Mohammed Al-Kaabi, under-secretary of the DoH Abu Dhabi, said: “We are pleased to witness the fruits of our collaborative efforts that bring us together with partners from around the world to position Abu Dhabi as a leading destination for healthcare and an incubator for innovation in life sciences.”
“Thanks to its advanced infrastructure, the emirate has been able to attract global partnerships with prestigious leaders in both the health and pharmaceutical sectors, those who chose Abu Dhabi as a leading destination to proceed with their innovative research projects,” he added.
Al-Kaabi pointed out that the health and safety of Abu Dhabi’s community and the world remained a top priority for the department, ensuring the provision of the most recent therapeutic and preventive innovations to all individuals with varying needs and health conditions.
Approximately 2 percent of the global population has compromised immune systems and either does not respond or responds insufficiently to COVID-19 vaccination. Patients with cancer, certain immune diseases, people on dialysis or receiving immunosuppressive therapy, and others with a suppressed immune system are among those who qualify.
Dr. Nawal Al-Kaabi, chief medical officer, SKMC and EVOLVE study lead, said: “The risk of infection from COVID-19 is far from over, especially for immunocompromised and vulnerable populations.
“Real-world evidence is imperative to help us better understand how the virus is evolving and establish additional tools to protect those at a higher risk.
“Looking beyond the pandemic, this innovative study will complement regional efforts to improve the quality of healthcare, advance the digitization of medical data, and meet the growing demand for locally derived clinical data that captures our unique demographics.”
Eva Turgonyi, AstraZeneca’s medical director for the GCC (Gulf countries cluster) and Pakistan, said: “As COVID-19 continues to cast its shadow over the world, it is important to continue protecting the health and safety of all members of community especially the most vulnerable groups who are more prone to COVID-19 complications. Unfortunately, there is a community of patients for whom vaccination does not offer adequate protection.
“By collecting real-world data from the United Arab Emirates, we can better understand how AstraZeneca’s long-acting antibody combination Evusheld can protect immunocompromised patients and enable them to resume their everyday lives." she added.
According to data from the PROVENT Phase III pre-exposure prevention trial, Evusheld has already been shown to significantly protect against symptomatic COVID-19 compared to placebo and has retained neutralizing activity against omicron and all other variants of concern to date.
In non-hospitalized patients with mild-to-moderate symptomatic infections, the investigational medicine has also been shown to significantly reduce the risk of severe COVID-19 or death compared to placebo.
Evusheld, which is the only antibody therapy approved for pre-exposure COVID-19 prevention in the US, has been approved for emergency use in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, and Egypt.