Bangladesh allows final trial by Chinese COVID-19 vaccine

The Bangladesh Medical Research Council has approved the phase-3 trial of a COVID-19 vaccine developed by Chinese firm Sinovac.

Our National Research Ethics Committee (of BMRC) has approved phase-3 clinical trial of Sinovac’s (prospective) COVID-19 vaccine,” BMRC director Mahmood-Uz-Jahan said.

Sinovac initiated the development of an inactivated vaccine against COVID-19 named CoronaVac in January and got the approval to conduct the phase-1 and phase-2 clinical trials in China that began in April.

The phase-3 clinical trial to test the efficacy and safety of the vaccine has already been approved by a number of countries, including Brazil, one of the worst coronavirus-hit countries.

Officials said that the government authorities and the ICDDR,B were in the process of completing other formalities with Sinovac.

‘The strategic plan has been finalised and the trial is expected to begin in August,’ said an official.

Bangladesh confirmed its first COVID-19 cases on March 8.

The country’s COVID-19 cases topped two lakh on Saturday while the disease claimed the lives of more than 2,500 people.

BMRC director Mahmud said that the trial was scheduled to take more than 18 months.

Four thousand and two hundred doctors, nurses and other healthcare providers would be selected for the trial, he said, adding that half of them would be vaccinated to assess the results in comparison with the other half who would not be vaccinated.

The trial would be carried out on the healthcare providers of seven units of six COVID-19 hospitals in the capital.

In the meantime, Chinese state-owned pharmaceutical company Sinopharm has begun Phase III clinical trials of a COVID-19 vaccine in Abu Dhabi using up to 15,000 volunteers. No COVID-19 vaccine has yet been approved for commercial use. According to a WHO summary of the state of vaccine development for COVID-19, there are 23 potential vaccines in human trials, with three of them in or starting large-scale late stage, or Phase III, trials to test efficacy.