Covid-19 vaccine update: Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin to undergo trial in Bangladesh? All you need to know

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Bharat Biotech Covaxin updateBrazil is the only country that has publicly announced plans to buy COVAXIN doses from India.Bharat Biotech has applied for a human trial for its Covid-19 vaccine Covaxin in Bangladesh, as per a Reuters report. Apart from Bangladesh, Brazil is seeking to procure Covaxin for its private market. If the authority in Bangladesh gives its approval, then Covaxin will become the first Covid vaccine to undergo trial in Bangladesh. Meanwhile, Bangladesh on Thursday received millions of doses of Serum Institute of India-manufactured Covid vaccine Covishield.

Mahmood-uz-Jahan, director at the state-run Bangladesh Medical Research Council, has revealed that they have received a proposal. He said its ethics committee would review the application. The Dhaka-based International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh (ICDDR, B), has applied to run the trial on behalf of Bharat Biotech, as per the Reuters report.

Bangladesh, however, has no immediate plans to buy COVAXIN whose efficacy data from the late-stage trial in India are expected by March. “Our vaccine procurement is in good shape. We are going to start the vaccination in the first week of February,” Bangladesh Health Secretary Abdul Mannan told Reuters. “No plan to buy from Bharat Biotech at present,” he was quoted as saying by Reuters. Brazil is the only country that has publicly announced plans to buy COVAXIN doses from India.

Chinese firm Sinovac Biotech’s late-stage trial of a potential vaccine in Bangladesh has become uncertain after Dhaka refused to meet the Chinese company’s demand for co-funding. Top Indian government vaccine official Vinod Kumar Paul has told Reuters that a smaller study involving 1,000-2,000 people could also be done in Bangladesh.

This has come after the Drugs Controller General of India has given Emergency Use Approval (EUA) for Covaxin and it is very much part of the ongoing vaccination drive in the country. In its fact sheet for Covid vaccination in India, Bharat Biotech has mentioned that Covaxin has been allowed for “Restricted Use of Covaxin under Clinical Trial Mode” to prevent Coronavirus disease 2019. Bharat Biotech has completed volunteer enrolment for the phase 3 clinical trial of Covaxin and is yet to release efficacy results.

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