In a recent development, the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (Drap) said YES to conduct a clinical trial of the COVID-19 vaccine in the country.
As per the document, signed by Drap secretary Shafqat Hussain Danish, recommending the committee to hold in Indus Hospital, Karachi.
The International Centre for Chemical and Biological Sciences will conduct the test soon in collaboration with a Chinese company that is already conducting trials in China.
More than 200 volunteers — both male and female over 18 years of age – of various ethnic groups, from Karachi, have been registered for the trial, which will be completed in 56 days; during this period, three injections of the inactivated virus will be administered to the volunteers.
The National Data Safety Monitoring Committee will closely monitor the safety of the volunteers and submit reports regularly.
A Drap official said, “Though vaccines are being prepared in different countries, we cannot surely say whether we will get them as there will be high demand for the vaccines across the globe. If this trial is successful, the vaccine will be easily available to us at affordable rates.”
Asad Umar, Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives, also showed hopefulness regarding the trials; he added, “It is one of the potential vaccines which can become successful.”
This is the first phase-III clinical trial, designed to evaluate whether an investigational vaccine can stop the symptomatic Covid-19 among adults.
As per the committee member, the trial will start from next week, according to him, the inactivated virus would be injected in each volunteer on zero-day, 28th day and on the 56th after which they will go through the antibodies test.
After the completion of the trial, Rs50, 000 will be paid to each volunteer, then the vaccine-trial mechanism will move to other cities of the country. Asking about the side effects, the committee member said, though it’s safe, there’s a possibility that only 1% of the cases may experience mild fever, headache, tiredness, or allergy.