With a view to make indigenous coronavirus vaccine recognised in the international domain, the makers of Covaxin jointly developed by Bharat Biotech and the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), are looking at clinical trials in Bangladesh.
In this regard, the government has managed to get approval for funding the clinical trials in Bangladesh, according to the internal government document, accessed by the publication Hindustan Times.
Under its missions abroad, the Indian government has proceeded with the regulatory approval of Covaxin by drug regulators in various countries.
The ministry of external affairs has already gone ahead with the visit of a team of officials from the Department of Biotechnology and Bharat Biotech to Dhaka to discuss the proposal with Bangladeshi officials, as per the document.
MEA has got further approval for funding the clinical trials in Bangladesh and is expected to begin trials after getting approval from Bangladeshi authorities, state the document.
At the beginning of this year, Bharat Biotech applied to conduct trials for Covaxin in the country, as per the Reuters report.
So far, Covaxin doses have not been supplied to Bangladesh, as per the HT report. On the other hand, around 3.3 million Covishield doses as grant and 7 million doses commercially to Bangladesh have been provided by India, according to the vaccine supply web portal maintained by the external affairs ministry.
According to HT sources, in New Delhi and Dhaka, the Bangladesh Medical Research Council (BMRC) has cleared the trials of Covaxin in Bangladesh on July 18.
This approval comes on the back of perusal from the Indian side. Some section in Bangladesh didn’t exhibit much interest in Covaxin since it has signed agreements with China for 30 million doses of Sinopharm vaccine and aiming to sign a separate deal for millions of doses of Russia’s Sputnik V, according to the report.
While the Serum Institute of India’s failure to deliver 30 million doses of the Covishield vaccine under a contract signed last November has disappointed Bangladesh. It is because vaccine exports from India were curbed in April at the time of the second wave of pandemic. Under the agreement with SII, Bangladesh was to about to receive five million doses each month from January to June 2021.
Bangladesh is among one of five countries including Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Nepal, and Pakistan which are part of the China-led China-South Asian Countries Emergency Supplies Reserve and the Poverty Alleviation and Cooperative Development Centre.
Other countries have also shown interest in the export of Covaxin including Hungary and Paraguay for the commercial export of 1 million doses of Covaxin.
Based on the final analysis of Covaxin data released by the Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech, the vaccine has shown overall efficacy of 77.8 percent against symptomatic infection.
It added that Covaxin has now received emergency use authorizations in 16 countries including, Brazil, India, Philippines, Iran, Mexico, etc. with EUA’s in process in 50 countries worldwide. It is in the discussions stage with WHO to get emergency approval for Covaxin, the company noted.
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