Health Minister Zahid Maleque on Thursday said the government has permitted the International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh (icddr,b) to run phase-III trial of Chinese Sinovac’s COVID-19 vaccine in Bangladesh.
The minister came up with the information at a press briefing at his ministry.
He said the approval has been given after examining all the necessary research protocols. “This Chinese company has been requesting us for having the trial through icddr,b for the last few months."
The company has already started trials in Indonesia. “The trial process is at its initial stage in a number of countries, including Turkey. They (Chinese company) have put Bangladesh on top of their list from the very beginning,” said Zahid Maleque.
“If Bangladesh participates in this trial, it’ll get one lakh free doses of the vaccine,” said the minister.
The government also thinks that Bangladesh will a get priority in collecting the required number of vaccines, he added.
Besides, he said, Bangladesh has very strong friendly relations with China. After considering everything, the Chines vaccine company has been allowed to take part in the trial, said Zahid Maleque.
Replying to a question whether the trial of any other country will be held in Bangladesh, the Health Minister said eight companies of the world are currently at the final stage of vaccine trials. “If the companies show interest to conduct trial here, Bangladesh will consider it.”
Chinese Ambassador to Bangladesh Li Jiming joined the meeting virtually.
Meanwhile, an icddr,b statement on Thursday said, “We appreciate the government of Bangladesh for taking time to evaluate our application for the phase-III trial of 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,” the statement said.
Sinovac Research and Development Co Ltd, a Chinese company, has filed an ‘appeal’ through icddr,b to Bangladesh health authorities for conducting phase-III clinical trial of its vaccine in Bangladesh and it was pending with Bangladesh’s Health Ministry, said Health Services Division Secretary Abdul Mannan Abdul Mannan on August 4.
The company has informed that it will initially conduct vaccine trials on 4,200 health workers of seven COVID-19 dedicated hospitals in Bangladesh, Mannan said.
Bangladesh Medical Research Council (BMRC) on July 19 approved icddr,b to conduct phase-III human trial of a COVID-19 vaccine developed by the Chinese company.
"The approval to conduct the phase-III clinical trial of a COVID-19 vaccine developed by Chinese company Sinovac Research and Development Co Ltd, will be announced formally within two to three days," BMRC Director Dr Mahmood-uz-Jahan told UNB.
Earlier, icddr,b applied to BMRC for permission to conduct the COVID-19 vaccine's phase-III clinical trial in Bangladesh, he said, adding that their application was approved today.
With a particular focus on the health and wellbeing of the people of Bangladesh, icddr,b has been actively monitoring the developments of the coronavirus pandemic since December last.
Being part of National Technical Advisory Committee (NTAC) on COVID-19, icddr,b has been providing technical support to the government on the prevention of novel coronavirus infections, improvement in the quality of health services in hospitals, and vaccine research.
NTAC was formed in April 2020 in Bangladesh during the pandemic.
Earlier on June 17, icddr,b started a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial to evaluate the safety and efficacy of anti-parasitic medicine Ivermectin in combination with antibiotic doxycycline or Ivermectin alone.
Later on June 26, icddr,b's globally recognised diagnostic centre at Dhaka's Mohakhali offered SARS CoV-2 tests to patients suspected of having COVID-19.
A global race is on to develop a vaccine for COVID-19. There are now more than 140 vaccines being tested around the world, according to the World Health Organisation.