Bangladesh approves Chinese COVID vaccine’s phase-3 trial

Bangladesh has approved final or phase-3 human trial of a prospective COVID-19 vaccine by China’s private Sinovac Biotech Ltd, which appeared to be a forerunner in a global race for developing inoculates against coronavirus.

“We have given an approval to human trial for COVID-19 vaccine developed by Sinovac in Bangladesh after examining all necessary research protocols,” Health and Family Welfare Minister Zahid Maleque told a press briefing at his ministry here today.

The health minister said as Chinese company Sinovac has showed interest in carrying out human trial of COVID-19 vaccine in Bangladesh, relevant government organizations have examined all necessary aspects including effectiveness and safety of the vaccine.

He described COVID-19 vaccine developed by Sinovac as one of most potential vaccine candidates in the world, saying the company (Sinovac) has already started trial in Indonesia and they are franticly working to begin vaccine trials in many countries including Turkey.

Maleque said from the initial stage of vaccine development process, Sinovac has attached Bangladesh as a top priority country to conduct trial of coronavirus vaccine.

Bangladesh would be benefited immensely, if the Chinese company Sinovac develops COVID-19 vaccines successfully within the shortest possible time, he mentioned.

“We’ll get one lakh vaccines for free… and Bangladesh will get priority to purchase adequate numbers of vaccines from the Chinese company. We’ll also extend all necessary cooperation to Sinovac for finishing their trial to contain the deadly virus,” he added.

Secretary of Health Service Division Md Abdul Mannan, Director General of Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) Prof Dr Abul Bashar Mohammad Khurshid Alam, Director General of Directorate of Drug Administration Md Mahbubur Rahman, senior officials and experts from relevant organizations, among others, were present at the meeting.

On July 19, 2020, Bangladesh’s regulatory Medical Research Council (BMRC) extended “ethical approval” for final or phase-3 human trial of a COVID-19 vaccine by Sinovac Biotech Ltd.

The BMRC sources said the BMRC decided to approve the last stage trial of the Chinese vaccine as Dhaka-based International Centre for Diarrheal Disease Research, Bangladesh (icddr’b) submitted a research protocol seeking to carry out the study.

BMRC Director Dr Mahmood-Uz-Jahan said it is very good sign for Bangladesh as the government has approved human trial of COVID-19 vaccine developed by Sinovac.

“We all know COVID-19 vaccine developed by Sinovac at the final stage of vaccine development race… human trial is vital stage of any vaccine development as researchers will scientifically see efficacy and safety of the vaccines at this stage,” he said.

Dr Jahan said if the Chinese company becomes successful, Bangladesh will be benefited manifolds to fight COVID-19 disease.

Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR) advisor Dr Mustaq Hossain said the whole world is waiting for an effective vaccine to develop sustainable immunity against the virus as it is considered to get remedy from the lethal virus.

Appreciating the Chinese company Sinovac for including Bangladesh in human trial of COVID-19 vaccine, he said there are a lot of beneficial sides of vaccine trial in Bangladesh.

“If the human trial is successful, Bangladesh will apply the vaccine quickly against the coronavirus,” Mustaq added.
He opined when Bangladesh will import COVID-19 vaccine from any country, it needs to be examined for its efficacy and safety issue before using the vaccine against the virus.

The health ministry sources said icddr’b sought to carry out the trial in seven health units dedicated for COVID-19 patients in Dhaka.

These are: Dhaka Medical College Hospital (DMCH) Unit-1, DMCH Unit-2, Kurmitola General Hospital, Kuwait Maitree Hospital, Mohanagar General Hospital, Mugda Medical College hospital and the Holy Family Red Crescent Medical College Hospital.

The ministry said the clinical trial would be performed on healthcare professionals first in the seven designated hospitals as they are front liners.

It said 2,100 volunteers would be vaccinated, while another 2,100 people would remain beyond the vaccination to gauge its efficacy.