KARACHI: The registration board of Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) has allowed another Chinese vaccine, CoronaVac, for COVID-19, officials said on Thursday adding that despite its low efficacy shown during the trials, the vaccine was allowed to counter the third wave of pandemic in Pakistan.
“DRAP’s registration board in its 304th meeting on Thursday gave Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) to CoronaVac vaccine, developed by the Sinovac Life Sciences Company Ltd., based in Beijing, China," an official of the Drug Regulatory Authority told The News on Thursday. This would be the fifth Covid-19 vaccine and the third Chinese vaccine to be allowed to be used in Pakistan as earlier, Pakistan had granted Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) to China’s two dose Sinopharm and single dose Convidecia vaccine developed by the Cansino Biologicals Inc. Oxford's AstraZeneca’s Covishield and Russian Sputnik V vaccine have also been given Emergency Use Authorization in Pakistan. Two Chinese and one Russian vaccines are being used in the public and private sectors, officials said.
The DRAP official further said an expert committee had recommended emergency use authorization for CoronaVac vaccine, although its data was not published and overall efficacy was around 56 percent. “But in Turkey and Indonesia, efficacy of CoronaVac has been found to be 91.25% and 85.3% respectively. Besides, it is already being used in China, Turkey, Indonesia, Brazil and some Middle Eastern countries.
The company provided its safety and efficacy data to the expert committee and on its recommendations, the DRAP’s registration board allowed the vaccine as we desperately need vaccines in Pakistan,” the DRAP official added.
The CoronaVac is a traditional vaccine, which can be stored at 2-8 degrees Celsius, which makes it ideal for countries like Pakistan where they don’t have ultra cold chain refrigerators. It is worth mentioning here that phase III clinical trials of a triple-dose Chinese vaccine, developed by the Anhui Zhifei Longcom Biopharmaceutical Company Ltd, are also underway in Lahore, Faisalabad, and other cities of Pakistan.