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Friday Feb 12 2021

UHS starting trial of another coronavirus vaccine from China next week

Pakistan has approved two coronavirus vaccines so far - AstraZeneca and Sinopharm. Photo:
  • UHS all set to launch trial of second vaccine
  • An earlier trial by UHS for the CanoSino vaccine registered 18,000 volunteers and is at the follow-up stage
  • CanSino vaccine has been developed by the Beijing Institute of Biotechnology

LAHORE: The University of Health Sciences (UHS) is ready to start the phase III trial of another Chinese coronavirus vaccine.

UHS Vice-Chancellor Professor Javed Akram says the trial starts next week.

Earlier this week, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Health Dr Faisal Sultan announced that China's CanSino COVID-19 vaccine is nearly 75% effective against the virus in Pakistan.

The CanSino vaccine has been developed by the Beijing Institute of Biotechnology. An earlier trial for CanSino by UHS registered 18,000 volunteers and is at the follow-up stage.

The varsity's VC the National Bio-Ethics Committee had approved a phase-III (involving humans) randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial in people over 18 years of age to determine the safety and efficacy of “ZF2001” – a recombinant novel coronavirus vaccine for prevention of COVID-19.

Read more: Sindh reports sweeping irregularities in dispensing China's Sinopharm vaccine against COVID-19

A double-blind study is one in which neither the participants nor the experimenters know who is receiving a particular treatment. This procedure is utilised to prevent bias in research results.

“We are expecting the trial’s approval from Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan [DRAP] during this week after which the recruitment of volunteers will start,” Professor Akram said, adding that a 1,000 volunteers will be registered for the trial.

Every volunteer will be given three doses of the jab in three months. They will have to visit the trial site seven times in these three months.

Read more: Sindh plans to buy 20m doses of coronavirus vaccine directly from China

The VC said Rs16,000 will be paid for travel and food expenses. The trial will be completed in 18 months, he added.