China’s COVID-19 vaccine trial approved in Bangladesh

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Representational imageReuters

Bangladesh Medical Research Council (BMRC) on Sunday approved a COVID-19 vaccine developed by a Chinese company for the Phase-III clinical trial in Bangladesh.

The name of the company is Sinovac Biotech.

International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh (icddr,b) will conduct the trials of the vaccine on 2,100 volunteers.

The trials will be administered on health officials of the seven hospitals.

“The icddr,b submitted a protocol to us to conduct trials of the vaccine developed by Sinovac Research and Development Co Ltd. National Research Ethics Committee has already given the consent. Now, we just need administrative approval from the hospitals where the vaccine will be conducted,” BMRC director Mahmud-uz-Zahan told Prothom Alo.

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Mahmud-uz-Zahan said, 4,200 of the participants will be divided into two groups. The design of the trial means half of them will be vaccinated while the rest half will not, but the volunteers will not know whom the vaccine was pushed.

He also said once the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) gave the nod, the trials will begin soon at the seven hospitals.

The hospitals are Mugda Mediacal College Hospital, Dhaka Medical College Hospital (Burn Unit-1), DMCH (Unit-2), Kurmitola General Hospital, Holy Family Red Crescent Medical College Hospital, Kuwait-Bangladesh Friendship Hospital and Dhaka Mahanagar Hospital.

Earlier on 29 June, a Prothom Alo report said the trial of the Chinese vaccine would be conducted in July.

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So far 160 initiatives have been taken for developing the novel coronavirus vaccine. Only Sinovac and Oxford University’s vaccines have entered the final stage trials.

Sinovac Biotech is quite advanced in developing the vaccine. Name of its experimental vaccine is CoronaVac.

One of the top medicine experts in Bangladesh told Prothom Alo that the vaccine must be conducted in a country where social transmission is still on.

China now has no social transmission. So, China chose Brazil and South Africa for the vaccine’s late stage trials. Bangladesh is also going to be enlisted.

However, the vaccination rate is high in Bangladesh. The management of vaccination is quite developed here as well. Due to the vaccine success, prime minister Sheikh Hasina was conferred with Vaccine Hero award last year. The GAVI Alliance, formerly the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation, honoured Bangladesh PM with the award at the UN Headquarters.