The Emirate of Abu Dhabi has witnessed the launch of a real-world evidence (RWE) study that aims to offer critical real-world data on the safety and effectiveness of AstraZeneca’s long-acting antibody combination, Evusheld, in protecting immunocompromised patients in the United Arab Emirates from symptomatic COVID-19.

The study is one of the many fruits of the Declaration of Collaboration which was signed last year between the Department of Health - Abu Dhabi (DoH) and AstraZeneca. The collaboration aims to further enhance research and development in health sciences and boost innovation in the healthcare sector as part of DoH’s strategy to increase patients’ access to quality healthcare services. 

The EVOLVE Real World Evidence Study, which is expected to continue till the end of 2023 with up to 1,000 participants, is a collaboration between AstraZeneca and Sheikh Khalifa Medical City (SKMC) hospital in Abu Dhabi, under the supervision of DoH. Abu Dhabi was among the first group of cities to receive the first global shipment of AstraZeneca’s Evusheld, long-acting antibody medication, to ensure the continuity of world-class care in the country.  

The multi-country, prospective observational study will support high-risk individuals across the United Arab Emirates and broader Middle East & Africa region by building a body of evidence on how Evusheld may protect against the COVID-19 virus.

H.E Dr. Jamal Mohammed Al Kaabi, the Undersecretary of the Department of Health – Abu Dhabi (DoH), 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 Al Kaabi stressed that the health and safety of Abu Dhabi’s community and the world remains at the forefront of DoH’s priorities, which assures the provision of the latest therapeutic and preventive innovations to all individuals with different needs and health conditions.

Approximately two per cent of the global population have compromised immune systems and either do not respond or have an insufficient response to vaccination against COVID-19. These include patients suffering from cancer, certain immune diseases, people on dialysis or treated with immune suppressive therapy and others with a suppressed immune system.

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 digitisation of medical data and meet the growing demand for locally-derived clinical data that captures our unique demographics.”

Eva Turgonyi, Medical Director, GCC and Pakistan, AstraZeneca commented. “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.”

Evusheld has already been shown to significantly protect against symptomatic COVID-19 compared to placebo according to data from the PROVENT Phase III pre-exposure prevention trial and has retained neutralising activity against Omicron and all other variants of concern to date. It has also been shown to significantly reduce the risk of severe COVID-19 or death compared to placebo in non-hospitalised patients with mild-to-moderate symptomatic infections.2

Evusheld has received emergency use authorisation in the United Arab Emirates, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar and Egypt and is the only antibody therapy to receive emergency use authorisation in the US for pre-exposure prevention of COVID-19.

Abu Dhabi presented a pioneering model in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Emirate was recognised by global rankings that placed it at the top of the world's cities for its efficiency in dealing with the pandemic and ensuring the health and safety of community members. These efforts are parallel with the continuity of the Emirate's economic growth.