Bangladesh has approved phase III trials of a Chinese Covid-19 vaccine candidate developed by the Institute of Medical Biology of the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences (IMBCAMS).
The International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh (icddr,b) will conduct the trial, Bangladesh Medical Research Council (BMRC) Chairman, Prof Dr Syed Modasser Ali, told The Business Standard Wednesday.
Approving the trials, the BMRC in a letter told icddr,b, "You have been approved to conduct the trial in accordance with the policy decision of the National Research Ethics Committee. Henceforth, the committee will be informed in more details."
The BMRC asked the icddr,b to inform them as to when and where the trails will take place so that the ethics committee can monitor it.
In August 2020, the Chinese vaccine developer contacted the icddr,b, and signed a clinical trial agreement.
In December last year, the icddr,b filed an application with the medical research council on behalf of the vaccine candidate and submitted a trial protocol.
The vaccine candidate – SARS-CoV-2 Vaccine, Inactivated (Vero Cell) – is one of seven vaccines approved for use in China.
According to www.covid-19vaccinetracker.org, the phase I trial of this vaccine began in May 2020, and its results were released in October 2020. The phase II trial for it began in June 2020, while the IMBCAMS started phase III trials late January this year in Malaysia.
This vaccine trial candidate is an inactivated (vero cell) type of vaccine like polio and influenza. Such vaccines consist of viruses grown in culture and then killed as a means to reduce virulence, that is, the ability to infect and cause harm.
The dead virus prepares the body to initiate a defence mechanism if and when an individual contracts the germ in future.
One of the benefits of vero cell type vaccines is that they can be administered to people with weakened immune systems.
There is yet another Chinese vaccine candidate awaiting BMRC approval.