Globe Biotech Limited, a Bangladeshi biotech firm, has claimed to have completed a successful trial of a Covid-19 vaccine in animals and now the company will apply to the Bangladesh Medical Research Council (BMRC) for a human trial.
The company said the Globe vaccine, Bancovid, would hit the market in late December or early January if the government is fully supportive.
This information was given by the chairman of the company, Mohammad Harunur Rashid at a press conference at a hotel in the capital, held to inform attendees about the progress and current status of the Globe vaccine on Monday (5 October).
"We will be able to launch the vaccine between December and January. We are ready to prepare the dosage of the vaccine. We have completed everything. Now, we are waiting for the overall cooperation of the BMRC and the Directorate General of Drug Administration and the government," said Harunur Rashid.
He further said, "The government was talking about bringing Sinovac from China or the vaccine from Oxford, but they did not take the name of Globe Biotech of Bangladesh. I request experts to prove that the vaccine of Globe, which will go to human trials, is inferior or less effective than any other vaccine in the world."
"The government has set aside Tk10,000 crore for the purchase of the vaccine, and if the government cooperates with us, we will be able to export the vaccine worth Tk50,000 crore. I hope the government will cooperate with us so that this vaccine is available in the world as soon as possible. We are looking forward to the government's patronage," he added.
The results of the Globe vaccine's animal trial were published on Bio-archive on 29 September. When asked about many differences regarding this, Kakon Nag, the company's chief executive officer, said, "We did not say it was a scientifically peer-reviewed journal. It is an archive of scientific publications."
"We have found very good results in the vaccine trial on rabbits and mice. Even after six weeks of vaccination, we found high levels of antibody titer in the mice. Trial permission is now needed to see how the vaccine works in the human body. We are now working with the CRO [Contract Research Organisation] to develop a clinical trial protocol. We will apply for a clinical trial to the BMRC after an agreement with them. We do not know when we will be able to go to the clinical trial," he added.
He also said all the workers of Bangladeshi non-governmental organisation Swanirvar Bangladesh have promised to take part in the clinical trial.
Bancovid is not on the WHO's list
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has a list of Covid-19 vaccines being developed in different countries of the world, but Bancovid is not on the list.
In response to a question from reporters, Dr Kakon said, "We have contacted the WHO but our experience was bitter. Even after we gave them all the information they needed, they asked for more information. They did not put our names on the list even after we gave all the information."
"It is racist not to include Bangladesh on the list when a developed country, which has only declared it will produce the vaccine, is included on the list," he added.
However, Kakon Nag said, "Even if the WHO does not approve, there is no obstacle in making the vaccine. The trial and production of the vaccine in our country will have to be approved by the BMRC and the Drug Administration."
On 2 July, Globe Biotech Limited declared it had developed a Covid-19 vaccine.