The UK’s Zayed Center for Rare Disease Research in Children is celebrating its second anniversary with praise for its pioneering work on gene therapy and Covid-19.
The center, which is linked to the Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children in London, opened shortly before the pandemic arrived in Britain.
It is named after the founding father of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Zayed, whose wife, Sheikha Fatima, donated £ 60million ($ 82.6million) to the Great Ormond Street charity in 2014 .
Entering its third year, the center praised its scientists for studying the smallest amount of coronavirus needed to cause infection, helping the world understand Covid-19.
The hospital described it as the first human provocation trial in the pandemic, meaning healthy volunteers were deliberately exposed to the virus under controlled conditions to help develop treatments.
This research has “supported the global response to the pandemic by helping to develop vaccines and treatments,” the center said.
A separate gene therapy trial ended with 48 of 50 patients no longer showing symptoms of a rare inherited immune deficiency called ADA-SCID.
It came as the hospital celebrated 20 years of the first gene therapy performed in Great Ormond Street, on a child called Rhys Evans who celebrated his 21st birthday in October.
Gene therapy researcher Professor Manju Kurian said working at the Zayed Center had “absolutely transformed his life” for him and his colleagues.
“We answer the questions families ask us: Why does my child have this disease, how did it happen, and what can you do to improve my child’s life? “, did he declare.
“And being at the Zayed Center allowed us to answer them. We have the most amazing lab space, we have state-of-the-art tissue culture facilities, and we’re in a milieu of other researchers who have the same goal of propelling us forward for these kids.
The center said it has treated more than 105,000 young patients since it opened. There have been over 25,000 appointments in a section called Falcon Outpatients.
Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, visited the center during a visit to the UK in September.
He said he was inspired by the pioneering research taking place there and thanked the staff for helping children around the world.
Update: January 5, 2022, 2:00 p.m.