Pakistan approves Chinese vaccine in emergency

By National News Desk

Islamabad: On Monday, the Pakistan Drug Regulatory Authority (DRAP) approved the Chinese state-owned company Sinopharm’s Covid-19 vaccine for emergency use, the second vaccine to be approved for use in the country, Dawn reported.

Earlier on Friday, Drap authorised the Oxford University-AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine for emergency use in Pakistan.

“In a meeting conducted by [the] Registration Board of Drap today January 18, 2021, another vaccine manufactured by China National Pharmaceutical Group (Sinopharm) has also been given EUA (emergency use authorisation),” a spokesperson for the regulatory body said in a statement.

Both the Oxford and Sinopharm vaccines were evaluated for their safety and quality and granted EUA “with certain conditions”, the statement added.

“This authorisation will be reviewed on a quarterly basis keeping in view further data regarding safety, efficacy and quality,” it said.

Sinopharm is developed by the Beijing Institute of Biological Products, a state-owned subsidiary conglomerate. The company had claimed the efficacy rate to be 79.3 per cent from last-stage trials, reported Dawn.

Meanwhile, in the last month alone, China approved the Sinopharm vaccine for general use. It can also be stored at two to eight degrees Celsius, or at a normal cooling temperature.

It has also been approved in the UAE and Bahrain and is also intended for use in Morocco, Dawn said.

It is an inactive vaccine, which means that the virus was grown in the laboratory and then killed. The germ is then injected into the body to produce an immune response.

The final evidence of efficacy of the two-dose vaccine will depend on the release of more data, Dawn reported.

Earlier, on 30 December, the Special Cabinet Committee for the Procurement of Covid-19 Vaccines, chaired by Federal Minister for Planning and Development Asad Umar, decided to purchase 1.1 million doses of Sinopharm vaccine. It was also announced that 500 000 primary health care workers would receive the vaccine as two doses would be given to each worker and the spoilage margin was 10%.

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