Renowned Chinese pharmaceutical company has invited the National Institute of Health (NIH), Islamabad for working together in conducting clinical trials of its recently developed inactivated vaccine for Covid-19 in Pakistan.
General Manager of China Sinopharm International Corp Li Can wrote a letter to Executive Director NIH Maj Gen Dr Aamer Ikram for expressing hope for a successful clinical trial in Pakistan which will make it one of first few countries for the launch of a Covid-19 vaccine.
Maj Gen Dr Aamer Ikram issued statement for the confirmation of letter received however, no action has so far been taken so far. This collaboration could be great thing for Pakistan.
He added that we want to increase the trend of clinical trials in the country. There are a number of laws before starting it. It has to be approved by the ethics committee, get the clearance then we will start.
According to Dr Ikram, the benefit from the clinical trials being held in Pakistan will be that if the vaccine proves to be successful, the country will be able to procure it on a high-priority basis.
Sinopharm is one of the first organisations to have led the development of a vaccine for the novel coronavirus. A state-owned enterprise, Sinopharm produces more than 80 per cent of the mandatory immunisation needs of China and played a leading role in fighting the Covid-19 crisis in the country.
It said that regulatory authorities worldwide have initiated emergency protocols to facilitate clinical trials and early introduction of a Covid-19 vaccine. In China, Phase I and II of the clinical trials have been combined to speed up the process.
The Chinese pharma recommended that Pakistan adopt a similar approach through the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (Drap).
It noted that the NIH has the necessary technical expertise and elements for conducting clinical trials on recruited participants through a nominated medical institution.
In order to achieve this, the letter proposed that Sinopharm, its representative HealthBee Projects Private Limited and the NIH enter into a tripartite memorandum of understanding (MoU) “urgently to plan and commence the implementation of these Phase I and II combined clinical trials”.
Li Can noted that the signing of the agreement will enable Sinopharm to share “more detailed confidential information for approvals and planning”.
While requesting NIH to facilitate the trials’ approval by the health ministry and Drap, the company said it will “provide full support” in the provision of supporting documentation, distribution of trial-related funding, planning of logistics and submission of clinical trial dossier to Drap through HealthBee.