In a file photo, a healthcare professional prepares a dose of the Pfizer vaccine as high-risk workers receive the first vaccines in the state of Victoria's rollout of the program, in Melbourne, Australia. PHOTO: REUTERS

Bangladesh allows human trials of India's homegrown Covid vaccine

Dhaka has also given ethical clearance for human trials of another Chinese vaccine, says official

Anadolu Agency August 03, 2021

Bangladesh greenlighted human trials of India’s first indigenous coronavirus vaccine, official sources confirmed on Tuesday.

“After a thorough scientific analysis, we have given ethical clearance for human trial of this Indian vaccine (COVAXIN) and more than a month ago, we also recommended human trials of a Chinese vaccine, excluding Sinopharm,” Syed Modasser Ali, chairman of state-run Bangladesh Medical Research Council (BMRC), said.

He added that a Chinese university and another company of the country jointly applied for a human trial of a Chinese vaccine through Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University, a premier postgraduate medical institution of Bangladesh, a month before the Indian application.

Ali, however, added that he could not reveal the name of the vaccine.

About the human trial of the local Indian vaccine, Ali added: “We have formed an independent committee to review this vaccine and after a full scientific analysis of the committee, we have permitted human trial.”

“We have reviewed all documents regarding this vaccine and when everything is found okay then we have ethically recommended positively. We have thoroughly analysed whether there is any scientific gap,” he added.

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According to law, the ethical clearance of the BMRC will officially be reached to the office of the Directorate General of Drug Administration for taking final permission from the government for importing the medicine for a human trial.

“The government can interfere with our recommendation, though. But since the establishment of the BMRC in 1972, there is no instance of government interference in any scientific works of this autonomous body,” Ali said.

Meanwhile, speaking to Anadolu Agency, ABM Khurshid Alam, director-general of Bangladesh’s Directorate General of Health Services, said that after getting the recommendation of the BMRC officially over the human trial of India’s locally produced vaccine, they would assess it.

Meanwhile, Bangladeshi Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen said that China had sent a draft of a memorandum of understanding on co-production of the Sinopharm vaccine with a local pharmaceutical company in Bangladesh.

Momen was speaking to journalists following a meeting with the Chinese Ambassador in Dhaka Li Jiming.

Also read: Lockdown deaths of animals in Bangladesh pet shops spark outcry

On Sunday, Health Minister Zahid Maleque said that a record 10 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines would be served across the country with priority to be given to aged ones in just a week between August 7-14 without any pre-registration.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina also said that the government was working to vaccinate all countrymen within the shortest possible time.

To stem the spread of the virus, Bangladesh has launched a massive vaccination drive and to date, the country has served nearly 1.4 million doses of coronavirus vaccines including the first and second doses.

Bangladesh has so far registered 21,162 fatalities from the virus while the total caseload stood at nearly 1.3 million. More than 1.1 million people, however, have recovered from the disease.

Bangladesh so far inoculated only 5.17% of its population, according to Our World in Data, a tracking website of Oxford University.


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