Authorities in the United Arab Emirates capital of Abu Dhabi have received the first global shipment of AstraZeneca’s EvuSheld antibody COVID-19 drug.
The UAE’s Ministry of Health and Prevention granted Emergency Use authorization (EUA) for the long-acting antibody medication, which is designed to prevent severe infection and death amongst immunocompromised patients.
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The treatment can be given to adults and children over the age of 12 who are not infected with COVID-19.
This medication will be in addition to the existing COVID-19 medications that are already available within Abu Dhabi and the UAE, Abu Dhabi Media Office said.
Earlier this week, AstraZeneca announced that Evusheld, which contains tixagevimab and cilgavimab — monoclonal antibodies that are packaged and administered together, per the FDA, is successful at neutralizing the highly contagious omicron variant.
The first doses of Evusheld arrived in Abu Dhabi on Monday 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 medication is to be stored at Rafed’s Distribution Center, the region’s largest cold-chain storage facility, and then distributed from there to health facilities.
In a statement, Sameh Elfangary, AstraZeneca’s country president for the 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.”
Evusheld is administered as two separate consecutive injections — one per monoclonal antibody, in which one is given immediately after the other. It may be effective for pre-exposure prevention for six months.
It is not currently authorized to treat COVID-19 or for post-exposure prevention.
The UAE reported 301 positive coronavirus cases on Monday, which is the highest since 321 on September 25.
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The country has not specified whether any of the new cases were of the omicron variant, though it announced that it reported its first case of the new, highly transmissible variant on December 1.
The UAE cautioned against over-the-top celebrations for Christmas and the New Year. It also restricted entry into all government institutions only to people who have been vaccinated against COVID-19, starting from January 3.