The fate of the home-grown Covid-19 vaccine 'Bangavax', which was initially called 'Bancovid', has become uncertain due to procedural complexities in developing clinical trial protocols, officials have said.
The Globe Biotech Limited, the company that has initiated the vaccine trial scrapped its deal with the International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh (ICDDR,B) on Monday due to the inordinate delay in developing the required human modelling protocols by the latter. Such protocols are necessary to conduct the vaccine trials.
The Globe Biotech had assigned ICDDR,B as a contract research organisation (CRO) to start the human trial procedures before the
"We cancelled the MoU with our CRO because of the delays in developing protocols," an official of the pharmaceutical company told the FE on condition of anonymity.
He said the unexpected development will certainly cause further delays and the firm will try to find another appropriate CRO now.
However, comment from the ICDDR,B was not available despite repeated efforts.
When contacted, Manager (quality and regulatory operations) of Globe Biotech Dr Mohammad Mohiuddin confirmed, what he described, as a frustrating development. He, however, said that the fate of the human trials was not uncertainty yet.
He informed the FE that they held a meeting with the high officials of the health ministry, DGHS and DGDA at the company's Tejgaon office on Tuesday where the issue was discussed.
Health secretary (health services division) Md Abdul Mannan instructed the Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR) to help them in finding an appropriate CRO so that the human trials of the prospective vaccine could be started, he said.
"They (the visiting government officials) also assured us of providing all possible cooperation as quickly as possible to this effect.
It is a huge boost for us," he added.
Mr Mohiuddin also informed that they have decided to change the name of their vaccine to 'Bangavax'. They initially named the vaccine as 'Bancovid'.
"From now, it will be called 'Bangavax' as you know we want to dedicate our innovation to the father of the nation," he added.
Mr Mannan said the government has taken necessary measures to import vaccines, but those will be much less than the demand.
"If local company Globe Biotech achieves success in making a coronavirus vaccine, it will help us meet the local demand. So, we need to cooperate with them and make the process easier," he added.
According to the WHO's draft list of possible vaccines for the novel coronavirus, 198 different vaccines are being developed in different countries.
Of the vaccines, 156 have been going through a preclinical evaluation and 42 others in clinical evaluation. Ten of them have been undergoing Phase 3 trials which are the late-stage clinical trials and determine both the efficacy and safety of the vaccine.
Novavax, Johnson & Johnson, Moderna, Pfizer AstraZeneca, Sinovac, Sinopharm, and the Murdoch Children's Research Institute have been ahead in the race for final approval to their vaccines.