A new factory in Abu Dhabi begins manufacturing the Covid-19 prevention vaccine produced by the Chinese company Sinopharm later this year, as part of a joint venture between the Chinese company and the Abu Dhabi-based technology company Group 42 (G42).
A statement from the joint venture today stated that the new plant, which is being constructed in Khalifa Industrial City (KIZAD) in Abu Dhabi, will have a production capacity of 200 million doses per year and will include three packaging lines and five packaging lines.
The vaccine will be called Hayat-Fax in the UAE, but it will be the same vaccine that is offered in the UAE, produced by the Beijing Institute of Biological Products, a unit of the China National Biotechnology Group of Sinopharma, since it was approved in December.
“Hayat-Fax is the first vaccine for Covid-19 to be produced in the Arab world,” the statement said.
The statement added that Hayat-Fax production has already started within the framework of the joint venture in the emirate of Ras Al Khaimah under an agreement between (G42) and Gulf Pharmaceutical Industries (Julphar).
The initial production capacity of the temporary production line is two million doses per month, and the statement did not clarify how long the production will continue there.
The UAE, through G42, hosted the third phase of clinical trials of the Sinopharm vaccine in July, which then extended to other countries in the region, including Bahrain. The UAE approved the use of the vaccine for workers in the first rows of medical staff, before it was made available to the public in December.
(G42) said earlier that it had concluded distribution and manufacturing agreements with Sinopharma and hopes that the UAE and other countries in the region will provide the vaccine.
The agreement was concluded during a two-day visit by Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi which ended on Sunday.
The joint venture also includes a research and development center dedicated to science, biotechnology and vaccine production in Khalifa Industrial City.
“Our joint venture is also enthusiastically looking forward to transferring our capabilities to new markets in the world,” said G42 CEO Ping Xiao.
The UAE said that its tests showed that the effectiveness of the vaccine is 86 percent, while Sinopharm stated that its effectiveness is 79.34 percent, based on preliminary results.
The UAE Ministry of Health said this month that some people who received the vaccine did not develop sufficient antibodies after the second dose and were given a third dose. She added that their number is very small compared to the number who received the vaccine.
And yesterday, Sunday, an executive from Sinopharm said that the company needs to evaluate the results of the third phase trials that were conducted abroad to determine whether a booster dose should be added to the two doses of the vaccine.
“Thanks to the close cooperation with the UAE, millions of people in the country, in the region and in the world get the Sinopharm vaccine,” said Liu Jing Chen, president of Sinopharm, at a hypothetical opening ceremony attended by the UAE Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan.