ISLAMABAD: Novel coronavirus is claiming dozens of lives every day in Pakistan and the only hurdle in the way of import of COD-19 vaccine from Chinese state-owned company Synoform will soon be removed where it’s Phase 1 trial in Karachi is in its final stages. Has arrived
In a separate development, the federal government has decided to implement the Medical Teaching Institution Ordinance in three major hospitals in Sindh and one major hospital in Punjab after introducing the Medical Teaching Institution Ordinance at the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) in Islamabad. There have been widespread protests against the move for weeks.
According to the National Command and Operations Center, another 2,040 people tested positive for corona in one day and 41 deaths occurred while 320 ventilators are currently in use across Pakistan. Statistics show that 58% of ventilators in Multan It is followed by Bahawalpur with 50 percent ventilator, Islamabad with 36 percent ventilator, and Peshawar with 32 percent. According to NCOC, the number of active cases in the country is 34,007.
Dr. Ghazna Khalid, a member of the Code-19 Scientific Task Force formed in March this year, explained to Dawn about the current status of the vaccine trial, saying, “We have almost completed the trial as there are only 10 volunteers left.” He said that a small first phase trial of this vaccine needs to be conducted so it was decided to conduct this trial at the International Center for Chemical and Biological Sciences Karachi (ICCBS) in collaboration with Indus Hospital.
He said that the process of registration of vaccine with DRAP is also underway and it is still being discussed and approval should be sought from Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) for procurement of vaccine on an emergency basis in a few days.
Responding to a question, he said that the Phase 1 trial should not be confused with the clinical trial as so far 1 million people had been vaccinated in China, Dubai, and Abu Dhabi, so only a small trial was needed. The vaccine has already been approved after the clinical trial and it is easy to store but we have nothing to do with its price so I am not aware of it.
Dr. Ghazna said that this vaccine has 86% efficacy and 100% prevention of infection.
Leading Scientist Prof. Dr. Ata-ur-Rehman is leading the Scientific Task Force on CWED-19 and they included Dr. Ghazna Khalid, Prof. Dr. Javed Akram, Prof. Al Farid Zafar, Prof. Iqbal Chaudhry, Prof. Dr. Khalid Khan, and Prof. Maryam Riaz Tarar The task force was formed on March 24, 2020, by Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry.
Later, on December 30, 2020, a special cabinet committee chaired by Federal Minister for Planning and Development Asad Umar decided to procure 1.1 million doses of the vaccine from the Chinese company Sinofarm for the purchase of the Code 19 vaccine. That vaccine will be provided to 500,000 frontline healthcare workers because each worker will be given two doses and the breakdown margin was 10%.
Talking to Dawn, ICCBS Director Prof. Dr. Iqbal Chaudhry said that the experiment was being conducted on 150 healthy volunteers to find out how the vaccine reacts to different ethnic groups.
He said DRAP would soon issue permission for the use of the vaccine on an emergency basis once the government has decided to import the vaccine but once the Phase 1 trial, also known as the ‘Safety Trial’, is completed. It is possible that we will also start the commercial import of vaccines.
Dr. Iqbal Chaudhry said that the safety study was in its final stage and after its completion, the results would be shared with both DRAP and the Chinese company.
A DRAP official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said most of the requirements had been met.
“We have asked for the vaccine sales agreement and Phase 1 trial data to put the cases before the registration board. Once the documents are completed, the emergency purchase will be approved,” he said.
Meanwhile, the federal government has decided to introduce the Medical Teaching Institution (MTI) in four hospitals in Sindh and Punjab.
The MTI Ordinance announced by President Dr. Arif Alvi in November 2020 has already come into force in PIMS Islamabad, indicating that the hospitals will be run by the Board of Governors (BOG), according to the ordinance. After TI, the Board of Governors will take care of all the affairs of the hospitals, the Board of Governors will have full supervision and control over the work of the hospitals and the people working there will lose their status as government employees.
PIMS employees believe the hospital has been “privatized” because it will have to generate its own income to cover the costs. They have been protesting against the ordinance for weeks.
According to a notification issued by the Ministry of National Health Services and available with Dawn, about four hospitals have been included in the MTI Ordinance 2020 schedule.
Karachi (Sindh) and Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Center (JPMC), National Institute of Cardiology (NICVD), and National Institute of Children’s Health (NICH) Karachi (Sindh). Sheikh Zayed Post Graduate Medical Institute of Lahore Hospital.