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Phase 3 coronavirus vaccine trial in Pakistan expected to begin this month.

Phase 3 Coronavirus Vaccine Trial in Pakistan Expected to Begin This Month

ISLAMABAD – The drop in the number of COVID-19 infections in Pakistan will not affect a Phase 3 clinical trial for a potential vaccine under development by Chinese CanSino Biologics, which is expected to begin this month, officials said Thursday.
Pakistan’s drug regulator last month gave the green light for the country’s first Phase 3 clinical trial for CanSino’s candidate Ad5-nCoV, which will be led by the National Institute of Health (NIH) managed by the government with the pharmaceutical company AJM – the representative of CanSino.
“We plan to launch the project on September 20, or later this month at the latest,” Hassan Abbas Zaheer, who is leading the trial for AJM, told Reuters.
The Ad5-nCoV vaccine and the placebo injections are expected to be received in Pakistan next week.
Daily positive cases in Pakistan peaked at over 6,000 in June, but have since fallen sharply, with just 426 new confirmed cases detected on September 8, bringing the total to 299,659 and 6,359 deaths.
Zaheer said the low favourable rates did not indicate that COVID-19 was no longer present in the country and that the potential for infection of those vaccinated as part of the trial was still sufficient to test their immunity.
“We think people are still infected but not tested, so the virus is still there,” he said.
NIH executive director Aamer Ikram told Reuters officials to believe the prevalence of the virus in Pakistan is low, despite the low testing rate. Still, researchers have a plan in place for the trial.
“We have developed a strategy with CanSino on how to ensure that the people most exposed to the virus are recruited for volunteers, so we will target frontline workers who are more likely to be infected by the virus.
The Ad5-nCoV trial will recruit approximately 8,000 volunteers, most of whom will be health workers. They will be recruited over four months and followed for 12 months after receiving the vaccine or placebo.
(Sahar News Monitoring Desk)

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