China Begins Clinical Trials for Vaccines in Pakistan

The National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) has reported that clinical trials for a potential vaccine have begun in Pakistan. Phase 3 was only recently launched in the country by CanSino Biologics from China for the Covid-19 virus. 

The first and second trials for the vaccine were conducted in China itself. Owing to a public-private partnership between CanSino and the National Institute of Health (NIH), Pakistan will be responsible for carrying out phase 3 of the trials. Following the confirmation of this decision by this Biologics Company, the NCOC released the statement informing the public of this process. 

Just last month, CanSino’s candidate was given permission by the country’s drug regulator to begin phase 3 of the clinical trial. 

Asad Umar, the Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Minister, stated that more than 40,000 people will take part in the trial. This is being carried out in no less than seven countries all over the globe. Nearly 8,000 to 10,000 of those participating will be from Pakistan. 

The Executive Director of NIH, Major General Aamer Ikram attended a press conference to address the launch of this clinical trial. On Tuesday, the Prime Minister’s Special Assistant, Dr. Faisal Sultan also made an appearance at the event. He stated that the trial is a big and important step towards the greater good, which required the involvement of Pakistanis. 

Major General Ikram also went on to say that participation in the trial is no less than an honor for the country. The phase 3 trial for the coronavirus vaccine will be conducted for the first time.

The Major also added that the entire world is trying to come up with a vaccine for the virus. As of now, there are seven vaccines undergoing trials, three of which have been made in China. Ikram said that the CanSino vaccine relies on recombinant technology, which renders an adino-vector deficient. The vector from the virus and the cell structure, he informed, has been shipped from Canada. 

Discussing the course of the study, he elaborated that the vaccine is first tested on animals, especially in its pre-clinical phase. This process was already carried out in China at the beginning of the year and proved to be immunogenic and safe. 

The Major explained that phase 1 of the clinical trial was also conducted in China. The outcomes turned out to be positive when tried out on the human body. The efficacy and safety of the vaccine proved that it had no harmful effects on humans. 

Phase 2 trial was also conducted in China on nearly 508 people. As per Ikram, the results were yet again good and were published in various scientific journals. He also added that the technology used by CanSino to develop their vaccine was quite similar to the one used by AstraZeneca for the Oxford vaccine. He disclosed that a chimpanzee adino-vector was used in the latter whereas, CanSino vaccine has a human adino-vector. 

Major General Ikram also warned that phase 3 is going to be the most difficult, and biggest stage so far. However, he was happy that Pakistan was chosen to conduct the trial.