Vaccine trial in Bangladesh
- Sinovac jointly with health ministry and icddr,b will conduct the phase-3 trial
- Vaccine will be administered to around 4,200 healthcare workers
- 50% participants will be vaccinated
- Bangladesh will get 1 lakh doses of vaccine for free for taking part in the trial
The government has given the go-ahead for human trials of the Covid-19 vaccine developed by the Chinese company Sinovac Biotech.
"Bangladesh has decided to approve the vaccine trial...Sinovac would bear the cost of the trials," Health Minister Zahid Maleque said on Thursday.
"We will allow trials. But in the case of getting vaccines, we have to be prioritised. Bangladesh will have to be at the top of the list of countries that will get the vaccine," he told reporters at a press conference at the Secretariat.
"If any other country like India shows interest in a trial, the government will be sincere in verifying and approving its effectiveness," he added.
The International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh (icddr,b) and Sinovac will jointly conduct the trial.
The health minister said, "We want the vaccine on completion of the trial in the country. Sinovac's vaccine will first be trialled on health workers and then on those who come voluntarily."
"The trial will be conducted in collaboration with the health ministry and icddr,b. We discussed the matter with the Chinese ambassador. He will negotiate with the Chinese government and the inventor company as soon as possible."
Regarding the approval of the vaccine trial, the health minister further said, "This Chinese company has been requesting us for a trial through icddr,b for the last few months. The government has done all sorts of checks and balances on their vaccine."
The company has already begun trials in Indonesia. The trial is to begin in several other countries, including Turkey. Bangladesh has been at the top of choice from the beginning.
The government thinks that if Bangladesh takes part in this trial, it will get one lakh pieces of vaccine free of cost and will get priority in buying the required number of vaccines.
Moreover, Bangladesh has amicable relations with the Chinese government. All in all, the Chinese vaccine company has been allowed to take part in the trial.
Asked whether any other country's trial would be held in Bangladesh, Zahid Maleque said, "Currently, eight companies in the world are in the final stages of vaccine trials. If the companies show interest in conducting trials in Bangladesh, we will consider it."
The minister also said, "Bangladesh will get some vaccines for free in proportion to its per capita income." However, the government will not just sit idle to get free vaccines. The government will not lag behind in purchasing it.
The health minister said work will also have to be done to reduce the rate of infection. Because it will take time to get the vaccine. No vaccine will be available before December-January. The World Health Organisation's vaccine may also be available in some countries, including Bangladesh, between April-May-June next year. Everyone should wear a mask; it will reduce the infection a lot.
Meanwhile, icddr,b in a statement said, "We appreciate the government for taking time to evaluate our application for the phase-III trial of the Sinovac's Covid-19 vaccine critically and give approval for the trial.
"We share a common goal with the government to bring the safest and most effective Covid-19 vaccine to Bangladesh at the earliest possible time so that the country may return to normalcy at the soonest."
Earlier on July 19, Bangladesh Medical Research Council gave ethical permission of conducting the trial of the Chinese vaccine in Bangladesh.
On August 4, icddr,b sought the government's permission to conduct the last-stage trial of the Covid-19 vaccine, developed by China's Sinovac Biotech Limited, at seven hospitals in Dhaka.
icddr,b applied for conducting trials among the health workers at Dhaka Medical College Hospital's Unit 1 and Unit 2, Mugda General Hospital, Kurmitola General Hospital, Kuwait-Bangladesh Friendship Hospital, Holy Family Hospital and Mahanagar General Hospital.
The vaccine will be applied to around 4,200 healthcare workers of seven Covid-19 dedicated hospitals in Dhaka. Some 50 percent of the participants will be vaccinated.