Significant moment in fight against COVID-19: UAE Government approved vaccine for emergency use following successful phase III trials, jointly operated by UAE’s G42 & Chinese company Sinopharm. Frontline workers will grt 1st access. 31,000 volunteers took the vaccine in the UAE.— هند مانع العتيبة Hend Al Otaiba (@hend_mana) September 14, 2020
On July 5, the same UAE-based G42 signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Israel’s leading defense companies Rafael Advanced Defense Systems and Israel Aerospace Industries to work together against COVID-19. A statement at the time from G42 said the company embraced international cooperation and collaborative efforts against the pandemic.In July Reuters noted that China’s state-owned pharmaceutical company Sinopharm had begun Phase III clinical trials for the Covid-19 vaccine in Abu Dhabi with 15,000 volunteers. “The human trial is a partnership between Sinopharm’s China National Biotec Group, Abu Dhabi-based artificial intelligence cloud computing company Group 42 (G42) and the Abu Dhabi Department of Health,” Reuters noted.On August 11 UAE announced that G42 was extending the Phase III trials of “an inactivated COVID-19 vaccine to a new center in Bahrain.” These trials would include 6,000 volunteers at the new center. This is the third after the one in Abu Dhabi and one in Sharjah in the UAE.According to GulfNews and Khaleej Times G42 is the first UAE company to announce the opening of an office in Israel. The announcement was made on September 10. “Operations will be led by experts from both countries with a focus on healthcare and COVID-19 diagnostic solutions, advanced AI research, agritech and water supply solutions.” Peng Xiao, CEO of Group 42, praised the decision as giving access to one of the most vibrant and mature tech ecosystems in the world. The company also has a partnership with Israeli start-up Nanoscent for Nano Check, a solution that is supposed to help detect suspected cases of COVID-19, Gulf News reported. The G42 work with Israeli companies comes ass the UAE, Bahrain and Israel are signing peace agreements. G42’s partnership with Rafael and IAI were forerunners to that deal. It was unclear as of press time what implications or potential the vaccine G42 is involved with has on the work with Israeli companies.