Emirati, Israeli health bodies sign deals for joint medical research

One joint study hopes to examine the risk factors and consequences of vitamin D deficiency, which is especially common in the Middle East.

A GENERAL VIEW of the ADNOC headquarters and Emirates Towers in Abu Dhabi. (photo credit: HAMAD I MOHAMMED/REUTERS)
A GENERAL VIEW of the ADNOC headquarters and Emirates Towers in Abu Dhabi.
(photo credit: HAMAD I MOHAMMED/REUTERS)

Israel's Maccabi Healthcare Services HMO and health organizations in the United Arab Emirates signed several deals on Thursday to promote joint medical research and technological innovation.

The deal was signed in the Emirati capital of Abu Dhabi by Dr. Tal Patalon, head of Maccabi's research and innovation center Kahn-Sagol-Maccabi (KSM); Ashish Koshy, CEO of leading health-tech firm G42 Healthcare; and Saeed al-Kuwaiti, head of the leading Emirati health organization SEHA. The signing was further witnessed by Israeli Ambassador to the UAE Amir Hayek and by Israeli economic attaché to Abu Dhabi Aviad Tamir.

The deals are wide-ranging but especially focus on advancing personalized medicine and emphasizing innovation. In addition, the deals also hope to establish a regional medical research ecosystem that will enable further joint research.

A specific joint study between KSM and G42 Healthcare is already happening, examining the consequences of vitamin D deficiency, a condition affecting over a billion globally that is also especially common in the Middle East. The study hopes to examine the role of genetics in Israelis and Emiratis to better understand deficiency risk factors.

The deals between KSM and SEHA - the first SEHA has signed with an Israeli organization - will also see the two collaborate to help build a genomic research registry for the UAE.

 From left to right - Mr. Saeed al-Kuwaiti, CEO of SEHA; Amir Hayek, Israel’s ambassador to the UAE; and Dr. Tal Patalon, head of KSM. (credit: SEHA) From left to right - Mr. Saeed al-Kuwaiti, CEO of SEHA; Amir Hayek, Israel’s ambassador to the UAE; and Dr. Tal Patalon, head of KSM. (credit: SEHA)

These deals are just one in a long line of agreements signed by Israeli organizations and those in the Gulf following the signing of the Abraham Accords, which normalized ties between Israel, the UAE and Bahrain.

It also follows a recent deal signed by KSM and Bahrain's Health Ministry, and KSM expects to sign more deals with additional countries in the near future.

Research collaborations

“We continue to build research collaborations with various countries in the region, implementing our vision of a shared innovative ecosystem that promotes research and development of advanced personalized medicine, while creating added value within the whole region,” Patalon said.

“We are thrilled and proud that another significant step has been taken to promote relations between Israel and the UAE,” said Hayek. 

“We continue to build research collaborations with various countries in the region, implementing our vision of a shared innovative ecosystem that promotes research and development of advanced personalized medicine, while creating added value within the whole region.”

Dr. Tal Patalon

“The field of medicine is of critical importance to both countries and a partnership of this kind can improve the health of the residents of our countries as well as the entire Middle East,” Hayek added.