China will provide coronavirus vaccine candidate developed by a China National Pharmaceutical Group (Sinopharm) unit in Pakistan as part of a test agreement, Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday.
The state-owned Sinopharm is set to work at the University of Karachi on vaccine tests, according to WSJ report, which said Pakistan would receive adequate doses in advance of distribution to vaccinate nearly one-fifth of its population.
Initial doses will be used to vaccinate the most vulnerable of Pakistan’s population including the elderly, health care workers and people with medical conditions associated with serious Covid-19 cases, the report added.
Related: Who will be the first to get the Covid-19 vaccine?
Earlier in April, Sinopharm invited the National Institute of Health (NIH), Islamabad, to cooperate in conducting clinical trials of the inactive vaccine for Covid-19 in Pakistan.
In a letter sent to NIH Executive Director Maj Gen Dr Aamer Ikram, China Sinopharm International Corp. general manager Li Can expressed hope that “a successful clinical trial in Pakistan will make one of the [the] first few countries for launching a Covid-19 vaccine “.
Dr Ikram said then Dawn.com that although clearances are needed for the purpose, cooperation can be “a great thing for Pakistan”.
Meanwhile, the researchers said Sinopharm coronavirus vaccine candidate appears to be safe and triggers antibody-based immune responses in preliminary and mid-stage trials.
The candidate has already moved on to a final stage of testing, one of a number of candidates who have tested on several thousand people to see if they are effective in getting regulatory approval.
Sinopharm is testing the potential vaccine in the United Arab Emirates in a Phase 3 test that is expected to take 15,000 people, as China has very few new cases to be a useful test site.
The shooting did not cause any serious side effects, according to a paper published Thursday in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) by scientists who are part of Sinopharm and other China-based disease control authorities and research institutes.
The results are based on data from 320 healthy adults in Phase 1 and 2 trials.
The candidate triggered robust antibody responses in inoculated people, but it remains unknown whether that is enough to prevent infection with Covid-19, the researchers developing the vaccine said in the paper.
Sinopharm chairman told state media last month that a potential vaccine could be ready by the end of this year with a Phase 3 trial expected to be completed in nearly three months.
The novel coronavirus, which killed more than 750,000 people worldwide, pushed a race to produce a vaccine. More than 150 candidate vaccines have been developed and tested worldwide.
Russia became the first country to give regulatory approval to a vaccine after less than two months of human testing, and a shot developed by Chinese company CanSino Bilogics was cleared for military use .
China has spearheaded the development of at least eight vaccine candidates at various stages of clinical trials.