Dhaka, July 20 (efe-epa).– Bangladesh has approved the last stage third-phase trial of a potential coronavirus vaccine developed by Chinese firm Sinovac, the health authorities said on Monday, following in the footsteps of Latin American countries Brazil and Chile.
Sinovac initiated the development of an inactivated vaccine against Covid-19 called CoronaVac in January and conducted the phase-1 and phase-2 clinical trials in China starting from April 16.
“We have given the ethical permission to conduct the trial,” said Bangladesh Medical Research Council director Mahmud Uz Zahan.
“It may take two to three more weeks for the trial to begin as the centers for trial and reagents of Sinovac still need to be approved,” he said.
The International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh, will conduct the trial in the country.
Zahan said the trial, expected to be completed in 18 months, will be carried out in seven Covid-19 hospitals in the South Asian country.
He said healthcare providers in these hospitals would be divided into two groups, and half of them would be vaccinated to assess the results in comparison with the other half who would not be vaccinated.
On July 3, the Brazilian National Regulatory Agency, Anvisa, approved a third-phase clinical trial sponsored by Instituto Butantan to test efficacy and safety of the inactivated Covid-19 vaccine developed by Sinovac.
The study will recruit nearly 9,000 healthcare professionals working in Covid-19 specialized facilities in 12 clinical sites of several Brazilian states.
The inclusion of participants is scheduled to start this month after ethical approval is obtained from each clinical site.
The Chinese firm initiated the development of CoronaVac on Jan 28 and its preclinical study results were published in the peer-reviewed academic journal Science.
Its first and second phase trials commenced on April 16 in China’s Jiangsu province when a group of healthy adults aged 18-59 years old were vaccinated with a 0, 14-day schedule.
Preliminary phase one and two results were recently reported. There was no serious adverse event after vaccinating a total of 743 volunteers in the trials, demonstrating a good safety profile for the vaccine candidate, the company said earlier this month.
Chile earlier in June announced it would participate in the vaccine trial developed by the Chinese company.
Bangladesh has been struggling to contain the spread of the Covid-19, with the number of confirmed cases already crossing 200,000 and deaths surpassing 2,600.
Bangladesh had imposed a lockdown on March 26 to prevent the virus outbreak, although the measures dealt a severe blow to the country’s economy.
The restrictions were eased on May 31, except in the worst affected areas. EFE-EPA