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Trial of Chinese Covid-19 vaccine in Bangladesh from August

  • Published at 04:22 pm July 19th, 2020
covid-19 vaccine
Representational photo: Bigstock

4,200 health workers at seven hospitals will participate in the program 

The Bangladesh Medical Research Council (BMRC) has approved a Covid-19 vaccine developed by a Chinese company for its Phase-III trial in Bangladesh, beginning in August.

The trial will be conducted at seven hospitals dedicated for treating Covid-19 patients, BMRC Director Dr. Mahmood-uz-Jahan told Dhaka Tribune on Sunday. 

“The trial of a Chinese vaccine will be conducted under supervision of the International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh (icddr,b)," he said.

The vaccine will be administered to 4,200 health workers at the seven selected hospitals, he added. 

The hospitals are: Mugda General Hospital, two units of Dhaka Medical College and Hospital (DMCH), Kurmitola General Hospital, Holy Family Red Crescent Medical College Hospital, Kuwait Bangladesh Friendship Government Hospital, and Mahanagar General Hospital. 

Chinese company Sinovac Research and Development Co Ltd has already conducted the Sars-CoV-2 “inactivated” Vaccine (Phase I and Phase II) trial in china. 

“They have got successful development after conducting two-phase trials on 'health volunteers' in China” said the BMRC director.

Sinovac's “inactivated” vaccine is made by growing the whole virus in a lab and then killing it, which is how polio shots are made.

On April 13, Sinovac received approval from China’s National Medical Products Administration (NMPA) to conduct human clinical trials in the country to determine the vaccine candidate’s safety, tolerance, dosage, and immunization schedule.

Two months later, on June 13, Sinovac officially announced the positive preliminary results of Phase I and II clinical trials for the vaccine, which showed favourable immunogenicity and safety profiles.

The phase II clinical trial results show that the vaccine induces neutralizing antibodies 14 days after the vaccination with a 0 to 14-day duration. The neutralizing antibody seroconversion rate is above 90%, which leads to a conclusion that the vaccine candidate can induce a positive immune response, according to the project file.

The Company has partnered with several entities outside China, including icddr,b, for phase III clinical trials. As part of the partnership, they are now going to conduct a clinical trial in Bangladesh with the logistics support of icddr,b.  

The China-based biopharmaceutical company expects that if the vaccine is deemed fully successful then they could manufacture up to 100 million doses of the vaccine annually. The company has invested around $15 million to develop the vaccine, said an icddr,b  official.

However, the trial of other drugs for the treatment of Covid-19 patients has also been going on in Bangladesh since March.

The icddr,b and Institute of Epidemiology Disease Control And Research (IEDCR) are also conducting clinical trials of a coronavirus treatment drug. This, after a team of physicians from Bangladesh Medical College (BMC), led by Prof Dr Tarek Alam, claimed that a combination of Ivermectin, an anti-parasitic drug, and the antibiotic doxycycline, has yielded tremendous success in treating Covid-19 infection.

Virologist and Principal Scientific Officer (PSO) of IEDCR Dr. A. S. M. Alamgir said the Phase-III clinical trial will be conducted to find out the development of the vaccine after earlier phases of trials. 

The head of National Technical Committee to Tackle Coronavirus, Dr. Mohammad Shahidullah, said: “In the third stage, the effectiveness of the vaccine will be figured out.” 

After successful completion of the trial, the result will be sent to China for more research before the final launching of the vaccine, he said.

On June 7, the Chinese Foreign Ministry sent a letter to its Bangladesh counterpart expressing keen interest in conducting clinical trials in Bangladesh.