Phase 3 clinical trials for coronavirus vaccine begin in Pakistan

Pakistan is hoping that manufacturing of the vaccine can be carried out in the country in the longer run

The phase 3 clinical trials of coronavirus vaccine developed by CanSino have begun in Islamabad. One hospital in Islamabad, one in Lahore and two hospitals in Karachi will collaborate for the trial of the vaccine. The clinical trials were launched by Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) on Health, Dr. Faisal Sultan along with the Executive Director of National Institute of Health (NIH), Maj. Gen. Aamer Ikram.

Ikram named the hospitals to be a part of the trials and also laid out the number of volunteers that will be participating, and the admissible age ranges.

“Islamabad’s Shifa International Hospital, Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital and the University of Health Sciences in Lahore, and the Aga Khan University and the Indus Hospital (in Karachi) have been collaborating for the clinical trial,” he said.

“The vaccine will be administered to 8,000-10,000 volunteers across the country. Volunteers will be over 18 years of age and most of them will be under the age of 60 years,” he said.

Ikram also highlighted that this is the first trial of its kind in Pakistan and should the trial be successful, technology can be transferred from China for the production of the vaccine. He felt that the demand would be very high and not possible for a single country to meet.

“It is the first-ever phase III clinical trial in Pakistan and will be hailed as a great success if the vaccine is found to be effective. If the vaccine turns out to be effective, we will transfer the manufacturing technology from China to Pakistan as it will not be possible for any single country to meet the high demand,” he said. “We have already installed a plant at NIH as manufacturing of vaccines is a multi-billion dollar industry.”

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