Vaccine maker releasing phase III trial results soon
Chinese vaccine maker CanSino Biologics has offered 20 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine to Pakistan, Bloomberg reported Friday.
The company is also close to releasing the results of its vaccine’s final-stage clinical trials that were being conducted in Pakistan, Russia, Mexico, and Chile.
In September, Pakistan started its first-ever clinical trials of the Chinese company’s COVID-19 vaccine, Ad5-nCoV.
Bloomberg quoted a technical adviser at AJM Pharma Pvt Hasan Abbas Zaheer saying that Pakistan will receive preferential access and pricing.
There might be a 25% decrease in procurement costs as the company claims it will fill vaccine vials in Pakistan.
“We need to keep in mind that this coronavirus vaccine is a very scarce commodity, highly in demand, and you know the other countries many months ago started the advance booking, we also need to do the same, we are already late on that,” said Zaheer in a phone interview.
“Once Pakistan does a booking, we will be in a position to know the delivery. I am sure the delivery will be much before other manufacturers.”
The company has applied to the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan for approval.
The news comes a day after the government’s announced that China would offer Pakistan 500,000 doses of its COVID-19 vaccines by January 31.
“This first batch come under grant assistance, so Pakistan will not be charged,” confirmed Minister for Foreign Affairs Shah Mahmood Qureshi in a press conference in Islamabad on Thursday.
On Wednesday, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Health Dr Faisal Sultan said the country was is in the “advanced stage” of discussions for the procurement of COVID-19 vaccines from Chinese companies Sinopharm and Cansino.
The vaccine will be administered to high-risk workers such as frontline health personnel.
A resource management system that collects and stores data of health workers is in place. More than 400,000 health workers have already registered, Dr Sultan said.
Adenovirus type-5 vectored vaccine is based on recombinant technology in which adenovirus is made deficient.
It uses a weakened version of the virus, with a gene from the SARS-CoV-2 (novel coronavirus) engineered into it. Adenovirus, which is a common cold virus, is generally used in these vaccines.
How it works
Once injected, the adenoviral vector sends genetic material to the cells to produce “spike” proteins, proteins that help the coronavirus invade cells. This works as a natural pathogenic invasion and causes our immune system to trigger a response and produce antibodies.
Our body builds T-lymphocytes and B-lymphocytes that spring into action when the virus strikes in the future.
There were 508 subjects in Phase 2 Chinese trials. They were monitored for 30 minutes after being injected for any adverse effects.
Twenty-eight days later, either T-cells or antibody responses were found in 95% of subjects in the high dose group and 91% in the low dose group.
The vaccine has already been approved in China and its safety is ensured, according to National Institute of Health Executive Director Major General Aamer Ikram.
No severe adverse effects have been observed so far, according to CanSino’s Chief Scientific Officer Zhu Tao.
Mild reactions included fever, fatigue, and sore injection site.