Abu Dhabi’s Hope Consortium to facilitate worldwide distribution of Covid-19 vaccine - Gulf Business
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Abu Dhabi’s Hope Consortium to facilitate worldwide distribution of Covid-19 vaccine

Abu Dhabi’s Hope Consortium to facilitate worldwide distribution of Covid-19 vaccine

The consortium will be able to handle the logistics for over six billion doses of the vaccines manufactured around the world – whether in single or multi doses – in cold and ultra-cold conditions in 2021

Abu Dhabi Hope Consortium

Abu Dhabi has launched an initiative called the Hope Consortium which aims to serve as a logistics platform to coordinate and facilitate the distribution of the Covid-19 vaccine around the world.

Hope Consortium member Etihad Cargo will transport five million vaccines in November on behalf of the Department of Health – Abu Dhabi, which is spearheading the consortium and will oversee regulatory compliance, full chain expertise and scientific insight, reported state news agency WAM.

The consortium members also include Abu Dhabi Ports Group, Rafed, the healthcare purchasing arm of Abu Dhabi-based ADQ, and Switzerland’s SkyCell, which develops advanced temperature-controlled logistics containers for the pharmaceutical industry.

Read: Moderna’s Covid vaccine found 94.5% effective in early analysis

Skycell’s hybrid containers will be used to transport the vaccines. The storage and transportation containers are secured through an IoT monitoring service which tracks temperature conditions to ensure sensitive vaccines are protected. The containers maintain steady temperatures for an average of 202 hours (8.4 days) and self-recharge automatically in a cooling chamber or reefer truck.

“Our hybrid containers will safeguard the full efficacy of vaccines that are vital to defeat the pandemic, all while reducing long-term business and environmental costs,” said Richard Ettl, CEO of SkyCell.

As part of the Hope Consortium, SkyCell will also establish a regional service and manufacturing centre in Abu Dhabi.

Pharmaceutical companies including Pfizer and Moderna have said confirmed the high  success rate of their vaccines in large-scale human trials. Pfizer’s vaccine needs to be transported at approximately -70°C.

Read: Pfizer says vaccine prevents 90% of Covid cases in study

The Hope Consortium represents a complete supply chain solution to address vaccine transport, demand planning, sourcing, training, and digital technology infrastructure, to make the vaccine rapidly available across the world.

The consortium has pooled its collective expertise to handle over six billion doses from the vaccines being developed and manufactured around the world – whether in single or multi doses – in cold and ultra-cold conditions in 2021, rising to over three times more doses by the end of next year.

Distribution of the vaccines, which will be stored in Abu Dhabi Ports Company facilities, will be carried out by Etihad Cargo, the first Middle Eastern carrier to gain IATA’s Centre of Excellence for Independent Validators (CEIV) certification for pharmaceutical logistics.

“With two thirds of the world’s human footprint within a four-hour flight of Abu Dhabi, the UAE capital’s investment in technological expertise and world-class infrastructure facilities means we can serve as a global logistical hub to, and for, the world,” said Tony Douglas, group CEO, Etihad Aviation Group.

“Etihad Cargo’s role in the consortium will leverage our outstanding pharmaceutical logistics expertise and specialised pharma and healthcare service, PharmaLife, the IATA CEIV Pharma certified product capable of facilitating temperature-sensitive cargo between +25⁰C and -80⁰C. Our network reach across key destinations will be supported by the utilisation of our charter operations to meet global demand for swift and secure COVID-19 vaccine shipments.

“We are already managing all anticipated shipment elements through our dedicated Covid-19 vaccines workforce,” added Douglas. “A dedicated pharmaceutical handling facility to accommodate increased capacity at our Abu Dhabi hub is also currently under review, as well as additional thermal covers and enhanced capabilities at origin stations based on established pharma trade lanes and specific requests.”

Another member of the Hope Consortium, Abu Dhabi Ports, has the Middle East’s largest capacities for cold chain and ultra-cold storage. “Our expansive operations at KIZAD are among the largest cold chain and ultra-cold storing in the region and enable us to support the emirate’s drive to spearhead global immunisation efforts that will positively impact millions of lives,” said Captain Mohamed Juma Al Shamisi, group CEO of Abu Dhabi Ports.

Meanwhile, Sheikh Abdullah bin Mohammed Al Hamed, chairman of the Department of Health – Abu Dhabi added: “While assuring vaccine supply to the domestic market, the Hope Consortium will offer international governments, non-governmental organisations, and vaccine suppliers a cohesive solution across every supply chain step – from air freight, regional storage and temperature monitoring, to inventory management, cold and ultra-cold container solution, regulatory clearance, and healthcare and pharma quality assurance.”

“Consortium partners already have extensive expertise in the global delivery of millions of Covid-19 related items, such as personal protective equipment, diagnostics consumables, vaccines and pharmaceuticals. As we progress talks with vaccine manufacturers to apprise them of our global distribution capabilities, the Hope Consortium will harness the united expertise of various Abu Dhabi and UAE stakeholders to provide a fully-fledged, end-to-end solution specifically for COVID vaccine distribution needs,” said Al Hamed.

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