Chinese firm refuses to honour pact on sharing Covid-19 vaccine tech with Bangladesh – Economic Times

New Delhi: The much-hyped mass trial of a Chinese coronavirus vaccine in Bangladesh has become uncertain and may even be a non-starter after drugmaker Sinovac Biotech Ltd asked the Hasina government to co-finance the initiative.

Sinovac Biotech Ltd in a letter on September 24 said the trial would be delayed unless the Bangladesh government provided funds, although the company was supposed to bear the costs as per an agreement.

The Beijing-based vaccine giant sent the letter to the International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh (icddr,b), which was to conduct the trial.

“They [Sinovac] informed us that they would be able to start the trial soon if we co-fund the initiative. We will make a decision after talking to the prime minister,” Abdul Mannan, secretary of the health services division at the health ministry, told leading Bangladesh English daily The Daily Star.

“We are not dependent on Sinovac. The government is looking for other avenues to get the vaccine right after it is developed,” Mannan told The Daily Star.

The Sinovac letter did not mention how much fund it would need and why it was seeking funds at the last moment, according to The Daily Star.

Experts told the newspaper that Sinovac’s demand was “not fair” and speculated that the company might have run the required number of trials in other countries.

“They probably fulfilled their enrollment criteria for the approval. Now they are placing the financial burden on us,” said Prof Sayedur Rahman, member of the ethical review committee of the Bangladesh Medical and Research Council (BMRC).

There is a requirement for human trials on 10,000 to 30,000 people to get any vaccine approved globally, he said.

Prof Nazrul Islam, a member of the National Technical Advisory Committee (NTAC) on Covid-19, said, “This makes everything unclear. We recommended the trials considering the technology transfer, because that would have gotten us the vaccines at a cheaper rate”

Bangladesh’s pharma major Beximco Pharmaceuticals Ltd (BPL) has agreed to invest with Serum Institute of India Pvt. Ltd (SII) in the effort to bring out an approved vaccine for Covid-19.

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Author: The Covid-19 Channel