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Chinese Vaccine Manufacturer CanSino to Offer Pakistan 20 Million Doses

Chinese Vaccine Manufacturer CanSino to Offer Pakistan 20 Million Doses

CanSino Biologics Inc. has offered 20 million injections to Pakistan as it prepares to publish efficacy results "in a few days" from recently completed phase III trials in the South Asian nation, according to its local partner.

The Chinese manufacturer of the single-shot vaccine will give Pakistan access and preferential prices, said Hasan Abbas Zaheer, technical advisor to AJM Pharma Pvt., The local partner. He has already applied for approval from Pakistan's drug regulator.

"We must bear in mind that this coronavirus vaccine is a rare commodity, in high demand and you know that the other countries began early booking many months ago, we also have to do the same, we are already behind in that." Zaheer said in a telephone interview. “Once Pakistan makes a reservation, we will be in a position to know the delivery. I am sure that delivery will be much earlier than other manufacturers ”.

The company also plans to reduce the cost of purchasing the vaccines by 25%, by filling the vials locally.

Concerns are mounting about the growing vaccine disparity between rich and poor nations, which the Director General of the World Health Organization has called a "catastrophic moral failure." Pakistan is not among the 51 nations that have begun administering vaccines despite being the fifth most populous country in the world, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The South Asian country has already ordered 1.2 million doses from the Chinese state-backed vaccine developer Sinopharm, manufactured by the China National Biotec Group Co. unit, with deliveries starting on January 31. injection from AstraZeneca Plc for private use.

The results of the phase III trials in Pakistan will likely be the first indication of the level of protection of the CanSino vaccine against Covid-19. A high level of efficacy will add another weapon against the pandemic, although other Chinese vaccines have been met with some skepticism due to confusing trial data.

Chinese developers have lagged behind Western pioneers in reporting interim test results. As the country has mainly been able to control its coronavirus outbreaks, CanSino and other Chinese developers have had to look abroad for phase III test sites. CanSino finally started the last stage tests in Pakistan, Russia, Argentina, Mexico and Chile.

Pakistan is currently experiencing a second wave of infections that caused a spike in hospitalizations and deaths last month. Still, the nation has largely escaped the radical outbreaks of its neighbors Iran and India: total cases number 527,000 and deaths more than 11,000.

The CanSino trial in Pakistan completed the enrollment of 17,500 participants a few days ago, after the target number increased from 10,000 participants. So far, only minor side effects have been reported among volunteers, such as a mild fever and body aches for a day or two, Zaheer said.

CanSino also agreed to supply 35 million doses to Mexico, while Malaysia is in talks to receive 3.5 million injections.

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