Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 2 July 2020

CORONAVIRUS

New Agility venture to procure Covid-19 health supplies

Global Response Aid to start mass production of ventilators in June and carry out testing at schools and workplaces

Agility has set up Global Response Aid, a joint venture with Dubai-based AiNanoLab, in the emirate. AFP
Agility has set up Global Response Aid, a joint venture with Dubai-based AiNanoLab, in the emirate. AFP

Kuwaiti logistics company Agility set up a company in Dubai to procure essential health supplies and offer services used in the detection, treatment and prevention of Covid-19.

Global Response Aid, a joint venture between Agility and AiNanoLab of Dubai, plans to procure certified diagnostic, testing and protective products, Agility said.

It will also offer services such as a contact-tracing app and mobile testing.

“GRA-sourced products include top-quality ventilators, thermal detection equipment, thermometers, masks, goggles, protective suits, cleaning and sanitation supplies and new point-of-care test kits that can take [the] pressure off hospital emergency rooms,” Agility said on Friday.

Manufacturing companies around the world have modified their production lines to meet a global shortage in protective and testing equipment.

Increased demand for protective gear and testing equipment during the pandemic has made it more difficult for some countries to secure essential supplies.

There is also a shortage in air freight capacity due to a dramatic 95 per cent drop in passenger flights, which also carry cargo.

There were more than four million confirmed coronavirus cases and about 277,000 deaths as of Saturday, according to Johns Hopkins University. About 1.3 million people have recovered so far.

GRA, in partnership with AiNanoLab, is building “low-cost” ventilators for coronavirus patients, at an estimated cost of $500 (Dh1,836) compared to $30,000 for typical ventilators, according to a video on Agility’s website.

The company will start mass production of ventilators in June and intends to supply 10,000 units per month to medical facilities around the globe.

GRA also developed a mobile phone app to help stop the spread of the deadly virus through community-driven contact tracing and alerts.

The app offers users the ability to record, time-stamp and geo-reference test results, according to Agility.

The venture will also use mobile diagnostic testing vehicles and trained teams to conduct Covid-19 testing on-site at schools and workplaces.

Governments around the world are looking to gradually ease the movement restrictions imposed to contain the virus. Identifying those who have recovered from an infection and may therefore have developed immunity will be a major component of measures to reopen economies.

It is still unclear how strong that immunity is or how long it lasts.

The UAE reported 553 cases of coronavirus on Friday, after more than 41,000 tests were conducted.

The latest infections bring the country's total to 16,793. Authorities said 265 patients had recovered, adding up to 3,837 recoveries.

The government announced that nine people had died of the virus in the UAE, taking the death toll to 174 since the outbreak began.

The UAE has conducted more than 1.3 million coronavirus tests since January.

In February, Agility warned that global economic volatility may affect its core logistics business in 2020 after it posted a 7 per cent increase in full-year profit as revenue rose.

Net profit rose to 86.6 million dinars (Dh1.02 billion) in 2019, from 81.1m dinars in the previous year. Net revenue increased 6.7 per cent to 531.4m dinars year-on-year.

The Covid-19 pandemic has hit the global economy, which is forecast to contract 3 per cent this year, according to the International Monetary Fund, and projected to slide into the deepest recession since the Great Depression of the 1930s.

The outbreak has hindered international trade, paralysed air travel and forced companies to furlough or lay off employees.

Updated: May 10, 2020 01:53 AM

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