‘Clinical trials of proposed COVID-19 vaccine to begin next week’

By Hina Kiyani

ISLAMABAD: Renowned Scientist and Chairman of Prime Minister’s Task force on Science and Technology, Dr Atta-ur-Rahman here on Monday said clinical trials of the proposed COVID-19 vaccine produced by a well acclaimed international company will be started in Pakistan from next week. International Center for Chemical and Biological Sciences (ICCBS) based in University of Karachi has been approved for conducting clinical trials of the vaccine. “The clinical trials will be conducted in partnership with Indus Hospital, Karachi†, he said. The application for conducting clinical trials of this vaccine was submitted to the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) for approval few months ago. Dr. Rahman said usually it takes two to three months to complete clinical trials of the vaccine. “In Pakistan, the clinical trials in the first phase, likely to start next week, will be completed in around three months†, he said. “The second phase of the clinical trials has already been done in China. While the third phase of trials will start after completion of the first phase and it will also take three months†, he said. The whole process of clinical trials (Phase-I and Phase III) will take six months after which the country will be able to manufacture the vaccine, if the results of the clinical trials come positive, he said. Hopefully depending on the success of the trials, Dr. Rahman said that the COVID-19 vaccine will be available in the country between the months of April and June. About the price of the vaccine, he said the price of the vaccine cannot be predicted now. “We can only know about the price of the vaccine after the manufacturing process starts†, he said. Dr. Rahman said, “We were in contact with several international companies for vaccine production after which one of the major international companies agreed to conduct clinical trials of their vaccination in Pakistan†.