Pakistan on Tuesday inaugurated an antisera processing plant and launched 120,000 doses of PakVac produced from the concentrate of Cansino vaccine while the World Health Organisation (WHO) validated the emergency use of Sinovac vaccine.
Meanwhile, the country reported the lowest positivity rate since March 1 this year.
While the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (Drap) registered Pfizer vaccine that had recently reached Pakistan, the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) announced the arrival of another 500,000 doses of Sinopharm vaccine.
The launching ceremony of PakVac was held at the National Institute of Health (NIH) which was attended by Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Health Dr Faisal Sultan, NIH Executive Director Maj Gen Prof Aamer Ikram and Chinese Ambassador Nong Rong.
Briefing the participants of the ceremony, Prof Aamer Ikram said 120,000 doses were ready for use, and the concentrate to produce 900,000 more doses had been procured. “We held a clinical trial with CanSinoBio in Pakistan and also made an agreement with it for technology transfer. We have been aiming to produce as many as three million doses every month as well as the raw material in future,” he added.
Later, talking to Dawn, Prof Ikram said it was a big success as the vaccine was produced through an antisera production plant which was Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) qualified and International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) certified.
“We have also repaired two already available filling plants due to which we can further enhance the production of vaccine. Moreover, we will also be self-sufficient in the production of vaccines for measles, cholera and typhoid,” he added.
Replying to a question, Prof Ikram said three million doses meant that three million people would be fully inoculated every month as PakVac was a single dose vaccine.
Speaking at the ceremony, Ambassador Nong Rong said China had cooperated with Pakistan to win the war against the pandemic as his country wanted to eradicate the disease from across the globe. “Pakistan was the first country whom China gifted the vaccine and it remained on our priority list,” he added.
Dr. Faisal Sultan said there was a saying that ‘for every problem, there is a solution. “It is not easy to produce vaccines from raw material. We worked hard for quality assurance and within a few years we will be able to manufacture vaccines on our own,” he added.
Asad Umar said diseases were not confined to borders or religion, which was why the NCOC had been set up to devise a collective strategy. “Though the number of cases has reduced, the forum has not stopped its efforts to control the spread of the virus. I urge people to get vaccinated at the earliest,” he added.
Drap registers Pfizer vaccine
Drap on Tuesday issued emergency use authorisation for Pfizer vaccine. An official of the national health services ministry, requesting not to be named, said Pfizer Pharmaceuticals got the vaccine registered in their name, adding that its price would be fixed later.
It is worth mentioning here that over 100,000 doses of Pfizer vaccine reached Pakistan last week through Covax facility.
Meanwhile, the NCOC data reported 1,771 Covid-19 cases and 71 deaths in a single day, with the positivity rate dropping to 3.72pc — the lowest since March 1 when a ratio of 3.34pc was recorded. There were 443 patients on ventilators with the number of active cases calculated at 57,336 as of June 1.
WHO validates Sinovac
The WHO on Tuesday validated Sinovac-CoronaVac Covid-19 vaccine for emergency use, giving countries, funders, procuring agencies and communities the assurance that it met international standards for safety, efficacy and manufacturing.
The vaccine is produced by Beijing-based pharmaceutical company Sinovac.
“The world desperately needs multiple Covid-19 vaccines to address the huge access inequity across the globe,” WHO Assistant-Director General for Access to Health Products Dr. Mariângela Simão said in a statement.
“We urge manufacturers to participate in the Covax facility, share their know-how and data and contribute to bringing the pandemic under control,” he added.
Meanwhile, the NCOC announced the arrival of 500,000 more doses of the Sinopharm vaccine. In a tweet, the forum said: “Today, 0.5 Million doses of SinoPharm Vaccine reached Pakistan via special PIA plane. Next tranche of 0.5 Million doses reaching in few hours from China.”