Gonoshasthaya Kendra founder Zafrullah Chowdhury on Saturday said Bangladesh can manufacture one dose of Covid vaccine spending just half a dollar with the help of Russia, reports UNB.

“I proposed manufacturing Covid vaccines in Bangladesh earlier. I’m giving the same proposal again. We have experts like professor Nazrul Islam, professor Azad and Bijon Kumar Sil, and some others to manufacture vaccines. The prime minister will be remembered forever if she can do it,” he said.

Speaking at a webinar, he also said, “Not more than half a dollar is spent to manufacture a vaccine dose. For that, we’ve to invest at least Tk 500 million (50 crore). We have businessmen in the country who can arrange the fund within seven days.”

Gonoshasthaya Nagar Hospital arranged the programme titled ‘Decoding Delta variant, its catastrophic effects and probable way out: A hypothetical analysis’. Bijon Kumar Sil, who recently returned home from Singapore, presented the keynote paper at the programme.

Zafrullah said China is going to produce one billion (100 crore) doses of vaccines for selling to different countries. “But China had offered to carry out vaccine trials in our country and it didn’t finally happen.”

He said Bangladesh can easily manufacture vaccines if only required investment is arranged since the country has good experience in it. “Cuba and Iran are developing their own vaccines in cooperation with Russia. I told our prime minister around one and a half years back about producing our own vaccine... and to use every citizen of the country without considering their political identities.”

Zafrullah said Bangladesh can now make a target of manufacturing a Covid vaccine within six months like Cuba and Iran. “Russia will cooperate with us if the government wants to do that.”

Speaking at the programme, Bijon Kumar Sil, who led a team that invented rapid antigen kit for testing novel coronavirus infection, said the flu virus has considerable similarities with the Delta variant of the coronavirus which spread very fast. “As a result, if any member of a family is infected with the variant, all others could be infected within a short time.”

He said the symptoms of Covid-19 patients were more likely associated with respiratory, gastro-intestinal and neurologic conditions such as dry cough, difficulty in breathing, diarrhoea and loss of smell and taste since the pandemic started.

“However, the manifestation of early symptoms of the Delta variant infected patients are more closely related to rhino laryngological symptoms such as sore throat, sneezing, runny nose which are very much related with classic influenza infection,” he observed.

Bijon said the changing pattern of clinical signs and symptoms along with the faster transmission of Delta variant could be associated with the adoption and multiplication of viruses in the upper respiratory cells like the human influenza virus.

He said there is no alternative to the vaccine and using masks to prevent the infection of the virus.

The scientist said deaths due to the Delta variant of Covid can be reduced through medicine which is a combined formulation of Vitamin-C with zinc. “Taking together a combination of Vitamin C with Zinc along with the current conventional Covid-19 treatment strategy could be one of the best options to prevent virus fatality.”