COVID-19 vaccine shows promising results during clinical trial in Pakistan

Henrietta Brewer
November 23, 2020

Phase 3 trials are now underway to determine the vaccine's effectiveness against the disease. The issue of advance purchase commitment for vaccines, including pricing, was also discussed in a recent meeting attended by NITI Aayog Member (Health) Vinod Paul, Principal Scientific Advisor to the government K VijayRaghavan and Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan.

These developments assume significance against the backdrop of Pfizer seeking emergency use authorisation of its COVID-19 vaccine from the U.S. regulators.

Pfizer company asked for permissionThe development came in the backdrop of the Pfizer company seeking the rights of emergency use of its Kovid-19 vaccine from U.S. regulators. At the same time, the National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for Kovid-19 should play a leading role in deciding the principles for advance market commitments, including the value of vaccines. Another US biotechnology company, Moderna, said it too would apply for the right to emergency use to the US Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) in the coming weeks.

The Serum Institute of India is conducting the phase-three trial of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, while Bharat Biotech and ICMR has already started the phase-three trail of the indigenously developed COVAXIN jab. "We and it's not a competition with the other developers", Oxford's Professor Pollard said, adding that AstraZeneca would release headline efficacy data before it was published in an academic journal.

It is pertinent to mention here that Planning and Development Minister Asad Umar announced on September 22 the launch of phase III human clinical trials of a Chinese vaccine for Covid-19.

According to Reuters, two vaccine candidates were developed by Sinopharm's subsidiary China National Biotech Group (CNBG) and the third vaccine was developed by Sinovac Biotech. It is also generating a good antibody response. Using these principles, negotiations should be speedily initiated.

But rival drugmakers Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna have in the past 10 days edged ahead, releasing data from late-stage COVID-19 vaccine trials that shows more than 90 per cent efficacy.

Older adults have an increased risk of COVID-19, so it's crucial that vaccines against the disease are effective in this age group.

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