Dr. Nausheen Hamid, Parliamentary Secretary, National Health Services Regulations and Coordination, has announced Pakistan will launch COVID-19 vaccine today. On April 2, the National Assembly was informed that the government was procuring raw materials to combat the coronavirus pandemic in sufficient quantity and it was expected that Pakistan would develop its own vaccine against the virus.
Dr. Hamid has said that raw materials relating to combatting the Covid-19 pandemic were being procured in large quantities, which would help make the coronavirus vaccine. “We will soon make our own coronavirus vaccine,” she told the lawmakers.
Moreover, with only four million people having been fully or partially vaccinated across the country, the University of Health Sciences (UHS) has started working on protocols to start trials for nasal Covid-19 vaccine.
It will be a single dose vaccine, which does not require a syringe. It is hoped the clinical trial will commence in six to eight weeks after approval from three committees is obtained.
“The vaccine will be single dose and has been manufactured by the Cansino Biologics whose single dose injectable vaccine is already being used in Pakistan. Nasal vaccines are usually given to children but there will be no age limit for it and it can be administered to both children and adults,” he said.
The vaccine will be capable of generating an immune response at the site of the infection and within the respiratory passage. Though children are less affected by coronavirus, they are a major source of spreading the virus, therefore the vaccine will be helpful in creating herd immunity.
Dr Akram said during clinical trial, the vaccine – already being used inChina – would be administered to around 5,000 volunteers and its efficacy and safety would be compared with the injectable vaccines.
He said the nasal vaccine could also be cost effective or available at lesser rates. “Once protocols are finalised, the university’s review board will analyse it and then refer it to the National Bioethics Committee. Final approval of the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (Drap) would be required. I hope the entire process will be completed within six to eight weeks,” he said.