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Bharat Biotech seeks nod for vaccine trials in Bangladesh


India’s Bharat Biotech has sought permission from Bangladesh to carry out trials for its coronavirus vaccine Covaxin in the two countries, according to a Reuters report.

If the permission comes through, this would be the first trial of any coronavirus vaccine in Bangladesh and is likely to pave the way for a mass use to fight the pandemic in the neighbouring country.

The company on Thursday also submitted an application for the emergency use of the vaccine in the Philippines.

The vaccine, developed in partnership with the Indian Council of Medical Research, is being already administered in India as part of the ongoing inoculation campaign. The complete data from the third stage trials in India are expected by March.

Reuters quoted Mahmood-uz-Jahan, a director at the state-run Bangladesh Medical Research Council as saying : “We have received their proposal…the 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.

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.

Bangladesh is has just started getting India-made vaccine Covishield manufactured by Pune-based Serum Institute of India in collaboration Oxford University and AstraZeneca.

Brazil has already announced that it would be sourcing Bharat Biotech’s vaccine to fight the pandemic.

The Indian vaccines have the advantage of being much cheaper and easier to handle than the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines which have to be stored in deep freezers at -70 degrees Celsius.