Sinovac Biotech seeks Bangladesh to co-finance trials for COVID-19 vaccine
Dhaka: Sinovac Biotech, the private Chinese pharmaceutical company that is planning to conduct mass trial of a coronavirus vaccine in Bangladesh, has sought the country's Sheikh Hasina government to co-finance the initiative, officials said on Sunday.
In a letter to the Bangladesh government on September 22, Beijing headquartered Sinovac Biotech said the phase 3 trials of the vaccine they are developing would be delayed until the Bangladesh government co-finances the testing initiative.
Bangladesh government gave the approval to Sinovac Biotech for the clinical trial of the vaccine in the country after examining all necessary research protocols, including effectiveness and safety issues.
Under the agreement, Bangladesh would get one lakh vaccines for free and get priority to purchase adequate quantum of vaccines from the Chinese company.
"They (Sinovac Biotech Ltd) sent a letter to Bangladesh government seeking co-financing for performing phase-3 human trial," Abdul Mannan, the health division secretary of Bangladesh, was quoted as saying in a report by the state-run BSS.
Mannan said the government would convey its decision to Sinovac after consulting the matter with the relevant organisations and individuals as the Chinese company did not make the proposal when it obtained "our acceptance to carry out the trial".
"It may take some time to reach a concrete decision on co-funding the vaccine trial . . . (but) Bangladesh government is sincerely thinking about the matter keeping in mind the issue of public benefits," Mannan said.
Commenting on the matter, Dr Abul Bashar Mohammad Khurshid Alam, the chief professor at Directorate General of Health Services, said Sinovac''s new proposal came when Bangladesh exhausted all the required steps to launch the trial.
"Bangladesh government, however, is still positive about carrying out final trial of coronavirus vaccine developed by the Chinese company as it emerged as a forerunner in the global race for developing a coronavirus vaccine," he said.
The Chinese pharmaceutical company channelled their original proposal to Bangladesh through the Dhaka-based International Centre for Diarrheal Disease Research and later obtained the final clearance for the trial from the health authorities on August 27.
However, officials familiar with the fresh development said they received Sinovac''s proposal seeking the co-funding on September 22.
Bangladesh continues to report a surge in the number of coronavirus cases, with the current infections number standing at 368,690. The total number of deaths due to the deadly virus stands at 5,348, local media reported.