DHAKA (BANGLADESH) – India’s Bharat Biotech that developed the COVAXIN with the Indian Council of Medical Research has applied to conduct trials in Bangladesh, informed a source.
If allowed to go ahead, this would be the first trial of any coronavirus vaccine in Bangladesh and could give the densely-populated country of more than 160 million faster access to the shot for mass use.
Despite any efficacy data from a late-stage trial, COVAXIN was given the green light for restricted use in India this month . Early tests, however, found it to be safe and generating an immune response in humans.
“We have received their proposal,” said Mahmood-uz-Jahan, a director at the state-run Bangladesh Medical Research Council, adding that 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, said a source.
Bangladesh, however, has no immediate plans to buy COVAXIN whose efficacy data from the late India trial 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 said. “No plan to buy from Bharat Biotech at present.”
Bangladesh will also start receiving millions doses from the Serum Institute of India, the world’s largest vaccine maker.