Pakistan has achieved another milestone in medical science. Local scientists have prepared an anti-corona vaccine with the title of PakVac. In the first phase, raw material is taken from neighboring friend country China under the supervision of Chinese authorities; approximately 124 thousand doses have been prepared in the first batch.
Pakistan has started the production of China’s single-dose Covid-19 vaccine CanSino (with local name PakVac) at the National Institute of Health (NIH), Islamabad back in April this year.
Launching ceremony of PakVac vaccine was held on Jun 01, 2021 in NIH, Islamabad, while speaking at the ceremony Federal Minister for Planning and Development Asad Umer said “National Command Operation Center (NCOC) has done a remarkable job. Third wave of the pandemic was much more severe than the first wave, still NCOC worked on the front-foot.” He claimed that this vaccine is landmark in the medical history of Pakistan and will safeguard the natives from coronavirus. “It was a hard time not only for Pakistan but also for the international community, each challenge provides an opportunity and we had availed this chance to produce our local vaccine” he said.
Mr. Muhammad Firdous Khan senior engineer, National Institute of Health, while speaking to Eat News told, “In our institute, basically it is the sub-manufacturing of the vaccine, we are manufacturing it from the second stage, from the concentrate bulk of CanSino, so that’s why we have named it as PakVac. The formula will remain the same. During the clinical trial of this vaccine, more than 18 thousands subjects have been tested in Pakistan; we did not observe any adverse reaction upon them. Now we can safely claim that it is the safest vaccine and it is single jabbed.” Initially six thousand vials per batch have been manufactured in NIH which can be increased to ten thousand vials. “We are sure that in the near future we will increase this production to 100 thousand vials per batch. We can easily produce 15 batches in a month” Mr. Muhammad Firdous Khan added.
Although NIH is well equipped with the latest available labs and machines, still Pakistani scientists are relying on the training of Chinese instructors who are friendly and trying to share their medical knowledge with local authorities.
During the launching ceremony, Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan Nong Rong said China will continue to help Pakistan to overcome the pandemic. “In beginning, more than 10 thousand doses of Pakvac vaccine have been formulated. As far as the clinical trial of China’s CanSino vaccine is concerned, Pakistan is among the first countries to take part in it. China has already supplied more than 1.5 million doses to Pakistan as a “gift”, and will continue this help.”
Mr. Xicheng Jiang, Project Leader, Tech Transfer, CanSinoBio told Eat News, “When I first came to National Institute of Health, Islamabad I saw the facilities were very good. A separate vaccine manufacturing unit was newly built; other prerequisites and essentials were state of the art here. Pakistani scientists have been working on different kinds of vaccines for a long period, this time our collaborative efforts resulted in a new brand of vaccine which will work as a shield against coronavirus.”
At the initial stage it was difficult to figure-out the raw material locally for PakVac, so Pakistan relied on imported raw stuff from China.
“For the first two batches we brought some material from China, to expedite the initial phase. Now we are searching for suppliers of raw material in Pakistan, then in the near future Pakistan will formulate this kind of raw material and our drug substance together to produce their own product” Mr. Xicheng Jiang informed.
“It was our dream to secure the technology after the successful tests and trials. With the blessing of God now we are in the position that we have achieved the transformation of technology. We can produce 100 thousand vaccine doses per day which could be increased as per requirement. Indeed, China is backing us to avoid and regulate the pandemic” Ms. Ghazala Parveen, Head of Vaccine Production Department, NIH, Islamabad, was talking to Eat News.
Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Health Dr. Faisal Sultan told the media that China is Pakistan’s all season’s friend; in the time of crisis once again China came forward to help Pakistan in the pandemic. In his twitter message Dr. Faisal Sultan said, “Congratulations to the NIH Pakistan team and its leadership for successfully finishing (from concentrate) of the CanSino vaccine with the help of CanSino Bio Inc. China. The product has passed the rigorous internal quality assurance testing. This is an important step to help in our vaccine supply line”.
Experts say Pakistan would be able to prepare a second batch of PakVac in the current month, for such purposes arrangements have already been finalized. Raw material for the second batch (one million doses) will arrive soon from China, provided by CanSino Bio Company.
It is expected, this facility will significantly help the country to reduce its dependency on importing the vaccine from other countries.
Pakistan has so far approved China’s Sinopharm, CanSino, and Sinovac, UK’s AstraZeneca, Russia’s Sputnik, and German-funded Pfizer vaccines usage in case of emergency in the country. Out of 207 million people, approximately 8 million have already been vaccinated. Pakistan is planning to vaccinate its 70 million people by the end of 2021.
In the current year, the government has allocated Rs 60 billion on federal level while Rs 100 billion collectively (including provincial health budget) for the sake of anti-corona drive and health sector improvement.