Monday Aug 02, 2021
ISLAMABAD: University of Health Sciences (UHS) Vice-Chancellor and Principal investigator of vaccine trials in Pakistan, Professor Javed Akram, has claimed that preliminary results from phase-III clinical trials of triple-dose Chinese vaccine ZF2001 and Moderna mRNA show promise against the Delta variant of the coronavirus, The News reported.
In his presidential lecture at an international conference in Islamabad on Sunday, Prof Javed Akram said that preliminary results of the trials are expected to be announced on Monday (today) by the vaccine developer Anhui Zhifei Longcom.
He said, “Findings from the data released by the Institute of Microbiology at the Chinese Academy of Sciences on July 16, 2021, showed that ZF-2001 retains its neutralising effect against the Delta (variant). Preliminary efficacy results from the phase-III clinical trials are expected on Monday but samples from those who received their third dose at longer intervals between the second shot showed a greater activity against variants.”
He maintained that the triple-dose Chinese vaccine ZF2001 has already been granted emergency use authorisation (EUA) in China and Uzbekistan and so far, over 100 of its doses have been administered in both the countries.
Prof Javed Akram said that data from Israel showed that Pfizer-BioNTech’s mRNA vaccine Comirnaty was 64% effective in preventing infection by the Delta variant down from 94 % but added that Moderna’s mRNA vaccine was still showing promise against the Delta variant, which appears to be 225% more transmissible than the original SARS-Cov-2 strains.
He maintained that the university was going to start Cansino’s nasal vaccine trials in Pakistan, saying that the nasal vaccine administration would not require any syringe and added that Cansino’s vaccine had also proved effective against the Delta variant and now they were going to administer its booster doses to those who received its initial jabs.
According to him, they were also going to launch the phase-III clinical trials of another triple-dose recombinant sf9 cells vaccine in the country, which could be stored at 4-8 degrees Celsius and proved to be highly effective against the new variants, adding that protocols were being prepared to get the phase-III clinical trials approved from the National Bioethics Committee (NBC) and the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP).
Commenting on the effectiveness of the mix and match of different Covid-19 vaccines, he claimed that many people had managed to get more than one vaccine in Pakistan but added that so far there was no conclusive evidence available if the mix and match of different conventional and genetic vaccines was effective against preventing new variants of the coronavirus.
“We have launched a polyvac study in which we are collecting the data of those who have got more than one vaccines. We are providing a link where people can share their data, which would help us analyze if the mix and match of different vaccines is useful or not,” he added.
The PSIM president lamented that the rate of vaccination was not satisfactory in Pakistan where at least 160 million people needed to be vaccinated to achieve herd immunity. However, he added that so far, less than 30 million had been vaccinated, of which those who were fully vaccinated were less than six million.
“The target of vaccinating 70% of the population of Pakistan by the end of this year seems impossible at the current rate of vaccination,” he added. Regarding the vaccination of pregnant women, he observed that they must get themselves vaccinated, preferably with mRNA vaccines as both Pfizer Morderna’s vaccines were now available in Pakistan and added that pregnant women are advised to get inoculated in the second or third trimester of the pregnancy.