The Financial Express

Bangladesh's no to human trial of any coronavirus vaccine

| Updated: March 03, 2021 11:49:09

Representational image — Reuters/Files Representational image — Reuters/Files

Bangladesh has decided not to allow human trial of any Covid vaccine of the four producers proposed earlier.

But any renowned pharmaceutical company, which produces vaccine, may be allowed similar production here.

The decision was made at a vaccine trial-related meeting on Sunday.

Last Friday, deputy secretary Anjuman Ara issued a notice for an urgent meeting on vaccine trial which was supposed to be held on Saturday.

But health ministry organised it on Sunday with health services secretary Abdul Mannan in the chair.

Directorate General of Health Services director general (DG) Prof Dr ABM Khurshid Alam, Drug Administration DG Maj Gen Mahbubur Rahman, Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research director Dr Tahmina Shirin, ICDDR,B senior scientists and ministry officials attended the meeting.

Acknowledging the decision, Mr Mannan told the FE on Tuesday that there was no decision on vaccine trial in Bangladesh.

"But we've decided not to allow any human trial of any company in Bangladesh," he said.

About this decision, the secretary said any company willing to conduct trial of vaccine requires approval from the World Health Organisation (WHO).

But those who have applied for human trial of vaccine do not have the WHO's seal of approval, he mentioned.

Earlier, four companies-one local and three foreign ones-sought permission of the Bangladesh Medical Research Council (BMRC) to conduct trial of their vaccines in Bangladesh.

One company sought to conduct trial from first phase to third phase and the rest for third-phase trial only.

The council accepted the application of two foreign companies only.

Meeting sources said the BMRC ethical committee gave over 100 observations on the proposal of Globe Biotech.

Not a single expert at the meeting gave any positive opinion on vaccine trial of Institute of Medical Biology Chinese Academy of Medical Science, Bharat Biotech, and Johnson and Johnson.

They were rather in favour of production by other renowned vaccine manufacturers locally.

They favoured two local pharmaceutical companies having capacity to produce vaccine including Incepta and Popular to produce vaccine of other countries.

Mr Mannan then instructed Mr Rahman to provide support to these local companies in this regard.

When asked, virologist Prof Nazrul Islam said it was a right decision that any vaccine not approved by the WHO should not be used for vaccination and human trial.

But Johnson and Johnson is on the list. Its vaccine has got approval in the USA and the government could allow its trial, he told the FE.

"Why they are not giving permission is beyond my understanding," said Prof Islam, also a member of the national technical advisory committee on Covid-19.

Preferring anonymity, another health expert said there was no need for Johnson and Johnson vaccine as the US food and drug administration gave approval for its emergency use only.

It may go to the WHO listing too.

"There is no need for trial of any vaccine which has got emergency use during the pandemic period. Critical issues like side effects in various countries are not considered much."

"Emergency use means third-phase trial is enough and fourth phase is not required," the expert cited.


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