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health
Wednesday Mar 10 2021
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Coronavirus in Pakistan: Order placed for single-dose Cansino Bio vaccine

A logo of China's vaccine specialist CanSino Biologics Inc is pictured on the company's headquarters in Tianjin, China August 17, 2020. -REUTERS

KARACHI: Pakistan is expected to receive the first batch of Chinese vaccine Ad5-nCoV vaccine (Cansino Bio) for COVID-19 within a week after it placed an order for the single-dose vaccine.

“We have placed an order for the purchase of CanSino Biologics Inc.’s single-dose vaccine and its first tranche of 60,000 doses is expected to be delivered to Pakistan within a week,” an official of the National Health Services told The News but added that no exact date of vaccine delivery could be given at the moment.

The official, according to the publication, said the single-dose vaccine could be administered to people of all ages as it was found effective among people from 18 to 80 plus years of age during trials in Pakistan and other countries of the world.

The NHS official added that one-dose was ‘logistically very good’ for deployment in countries like Pakistan.

The official further disclosed that the CanSino Biologics Inc.’s vaccine would also be "manufactured partially in Pakistan", following its successful conclusion of trials at five leading health institutions in the country.

Vaccine to be produced in Pakistan

To a query, the official said the vaccine manufacturing facility was being upgraded with the help of the Chinese firm at NIH Islamabad, which is currently undergoing reorganisation.

“Pakistani scientists and experts would be trained by the Chinese biotechnology firm for manufacturing the vaccine.”

Trial result satisfactory

The registration board of Pakistan’s Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) had given emergency use authorisation to the vaccine in the second week of February 2021 after the Chinese manufacturer released interim efficacy results from a multi-country trial, which included Pakistan, showing 65.7% efficacy in preventing symptomatic COVID-19 cases and a 90.98% success rate in stopping severe infections.

Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Health Dr Faisal Sultan had also expressed satisfaction over the interim results of the trials.

The sample size for the analysis comprised 30,000 participants and 101 confirmed cases of COVID-19, the health minister said last week, adding that no serious safety concerns were raised in the study.

Pakistan is planning to vaccinate its 40-50 million of its adult population with a mix-and-match of the Chinese as well as European vaccines while limited quantity of mRNA vaccines developed by the Pfizer-BioNtech and Moderna could also be used subject to their availability, for which storage and deployment capacity was being enhanced, the official said.