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Data for two Chinese COVID-19 vaccines sent to DRAP for emergency use approval

An AFP representational image.

LAHORE: Data for two Chinese anti-coronavirus vaccine candidates has been submitted to the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP), seeking a grant for emergency use.

A health official told Geo.tv that the first limited supply for the vaccine is likely to start next month [February].

The phase III clinical trials for Ad5-nCoV vaccine, being developed by CanSino Biologics and the Chinese military-backed research unit, at the Shifa International Hospital in Islamabad will end this week.

“The trials began in September last year with a target of 17,500 volunteers,” said the lead physician of the clinical trial, Dr Ejaz A Khan told Geo.tv.

The clinical trial is being supervised by the National Institute of Health.

The physician, who is also the chairman of infection control at the hospital, said the sample will be reviewed by Dalhousie University in Canada. “The university will determine the efficacy of the vaccine.”

The trial will then enter phase IV which is when a vaccine is green-lighted for manufacturing, marketing, and distribution, he added.

The first-ever large-scale trial in Pakistan was conducted at five centres; two in Karachi and Lahore each and, one in Islamabad.

In the federal capital, the Shifa International Hospital repurposed a building previously used for COVID-19 testing for the trial where volunteers, recruited through NGOs, hospitals, and corporations, arrived by appointment.

To volunteer, the individual must be 18 and above, not have tested positive for COVID-19, not have immune deficiencies, and not be pregnant for the trial duration.

The hospital also provided a one-time Rs2,000 compensation for travel and food expenses.

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