The exclusive interview with Ashish Koshy is now available to watch on Euronews’ Inspire Middle East channel
Dubai, United Arab Emirates, 22nd July 2020: Europe’s number one leading news channel, Euronews, sat down with Ashish Koshy, the CEO of Group 42, an Abu Dhabi-based artificial intelligence and cloud computing company that is currently involved in the development of a COVID-19 vaccine. The interview comes as health authorities of Abu Dhabi and Beijing announce the start of the world’s first phase three clinical trial of a vaccine to treat the novel coronavirus.
Ashish Koshy commented on the high expectations of his company’s work: “It's a global effort together against this global pandemic. Every country needs to play its part in participating and not in a race, but in a collaborative effort to fight against this global pandemic. That is definitely not just a global health crisis, but also it is hitting economies, jobs, airlines. And that's what it should be considered as, a global effort towards combating this pandemic.”
With the UAE known for having one of the highest testing rates for COVID-19 in the world, Abu Dhabi has become home to a high-volume testing center, the first of its kind outside of China with the capacity to diagnose thousands of people every day.
When asked why the UAE collaborated with China to develop a vaccine, Ashish Koshy said: “Sinopharm has two products, two inactivated vaccines in the top ten race and that's essentially the synergy we saw. It felt like definitely a strong partner that we could bring into the UAE, bring the capability into the UAE, and give early access to the UAE residents.”
Regarding Group 42’s current work focused on virus mutation, Ashish Koshy said: “In our genomics laboratory, we are currently doing COVID-19 sequencing and the purpose of this sequencing is purely just to understand the mutation pattern of the vaccines across not just the viral genomes, but also the human hosts to figure out how the virus mutating.”
He added: “We developed a new platform called Group42 AI platform where we have a complete bioinformatics pipeline to showcase and identify patterns specifically from this immediately, once the clinical phase three trials start up. We have a plethora of data where people can plug in and come up with incredible insights that could figure out how the virus is mutating and thus, potentially – the vaccine have an answer to cure that.”
Ashish Koshy is hopeful that a vaccine might enter the market by the end of this year or early 2021. He explained the next steps of Group 42’s research after phase three is completed: “We are targeting at least a group of 5,000 or more and I am sure the results can be positive enough to move to phase four. What happens in phase four is we would get FDA approval, assuming the results from the clinical phase three trials are positive for FDA approval and eventually the production, distribution and manufacturing.”