Pakistan launches phase-III clinical trial of Chinese vaccine

By: News Desk      Published: 01:59 PM, 22 Sep, 2020
Pakistan launches phase-III clinical trial of Chinese vaccine
Pakistan launches phase-III clinical trial of Chinese vaccine

The National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) on Tuesday announced that Pakistan has launched phase III clinical trials for the Covid-19 vaccine developed by China, reported 24NewsHD TV channel.

After flattening the virus curve, the public health strategy is aimed at slowing down the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic and the launching of the phase III trials for the Chinese-made vaccine is a party of it.

In a tweet, Planning Minister Asad Umar Tuesday said, “Just launched the phase III trials for a COVID-19 vaccine in Pakistan. The vaccine has been developed by a Chinese company.”

He said a total of 40,000 people will participate in this trial in seven countries, of which 8 to 10, 000 will be Pakistani. 

The initial results of the trial of the vaccine made by a Chinese company are expected in four to six months.

As per the statement issued by National Command and Control Center (NCOC) after a meeting chaired by Planning Minister Asad Umar held Tuesday in Islamabad, “The third clinical trial of corona vaccine has started in Pakistan, the first and second clinical trials of NCOC corona vaccine were conducted in China. The third phase of clinical trial of coronavirus vaccine is a public and private partnership venture.”

The third phase of the clinical trial is being conducted under the partnership of the National Institute of Health (NIH) and CanSino, China.

CGTN, China Global Television Network, also reported that China is conducting clinical trials of 11 COVID-19 vaccines, four of which have entered phase three trials. This was said by Wang Zhigang, Chinese Minister of Science and Technology, at the Global Science and Life Health Forum in Beijing.

Pakistan's drug regulator last month gave the go-ahead for the country’s first phase III clinical trial for CanSino’s candidate. 

Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Minister Asad Umar said that 40,000 people will participate in the trial, which is being held in seven countries across the world. Around 8,000 to 10,000 of these will be from Pakistan, he said. 

Addressing a press conference alongside NIH Executive Director Maj Gen Aamer Ikram Islamabad after the NCOC meeting, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Health Dr Faisal Sultan termed the trial an important development in which Pakistanis would also take part. 

Maj Gen Ikram said it was an honour for the country that it was participating in the phase III trial of a vaccine for the first time. "The entire world is looking towards a vaccine right now. There are seven vaccines for which trials are being conducted — three of them developed in China. This CanSino vaccine is based on recombinant technology in which an adino-vector is made deficient. The virus vector and cell culture have been procured from Canada," he said.

Speaking about how the study is conducted, he said that in the pre-clinical phase the vaccine is tried on animals. "This was done in China at the start of the year. It was safe and immunogenic.

"Then there is a phase 1 trial which was again conducted in China and its results were good. In this phase, the safety and efficacy [of the vaccine] on the human body is looked at. 

"The phase 2 trial was conducted on 508 people — which is considered a big trial — and when the results were found to be good, it was published in scientific journals," he said. 

He added that the technology for the CanSino vaccine was similar to that of the Oxford vaccine being developed by AstraZeneca. A chimpanzee adino-vector was used in the AstraZeneca vaccine while a human adino-vector was used for this vaccine, he disclosed. 

He said phase III trial was the biggest and most difficult stage. "The NIH has accepted this challenge and we are grateful to the patronage of the NCOC and the Ministry of Health."

A medical examination of the volunteers would be carried out after which the vaccine would be administered to them. Ikram added that the NIH would follow up with them for 12 months but the results of the vaccine would be expected in three months. 

The vaccine would be available in the market in five to six months once its results were analysed and it was approved, said Ikram. "This is the vaccine that has already been approved and is being administered to army officials and policemen in China. Therefore, its safety is ensured," he concluded.