DUBAI: A leading UAE health care provider revealed that it was contributing to a British-based drug trial that will help patients with diabetes overcome the effects of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
Mubadala Healthcare is part-funding the trial of an immune-dampening drug approved by the UK’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency.
The trial, known as Arcadia, was approved following preclinical research that suggested a specific enzyme “could help diabetes patients with COVID-19 by dampening the overactive response of the immune system that is typically acute in those patients with raised blood glucose levels,” Mubadala Healthcare said in a statement.
The trial began on Sept. 29 and involved hospitalized patients with mild to moderate COVID-19 symptoms.
The research grant will enhance efforts to achieve better healthcare outcomes for more than one million diabetic patients in the UAE.
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“There are more than 1 million people living with diabetes in our country, and this group is identified as being particularly vulnerable to effects of the COVID-19,” said Abdulla Abdul Aziz Al-Shamsi, head of Mubadala Healthcare.
He added that the investment was one of many being made by Mubadala Healthcare “to enable the UAE government and population to mitigate the effects of the disease, and provide the resources needed to support local and international efforts that will lead to solutions for this pandemic.”
The company is contributing to the research grant along with Excalibur Medicines Ltd. (EML), several private partners, and the UK government.
The compound itself was originally developed by Anglo-Swedish pharmaceuticals group, AstraZeneca, for another purpose but research conducted by biomedical research charity St. George Street Capital Ltd. (SGS) found that it had the potential to help people with diabetes.
EML founder, Sir Chris Evans, said: “The funding from Mubadala Healthcare and our other partners will allow us to fast-track this research.” He added that they “foresee a significant impact on the level of fatalities in the future.
“Treatments such as this could be vital as we are likely to be living with this virus for some time to come.”
David Tapolczay, CEO of SGS, said: “Given the current crisis, we have paused all our current research program to focus totally on this clinical trial and evaluate this potentially life-saving new drug.”
If the trial is successful, the compound could eventually be prescribed by doctors and physicians for people with diabetes who show early symptoms of COVID-19.