Explanation sought from UHS head for announcing vaccine test

Published August 8, 2020
Punjab government has now stopped the UHS from testing the vaccine. — AFP/File
Punjab government has now stopped the UHS from testing the vaccine. — AFP/File

LAHORE: The Punjab government has sought explanation from University of Health Sciences (UHS) Vice Chancellor (VC) Prof Dr Javed Akram for announcing the test of Australian vaccine COVAX-19 on active coronavirus patients in Lahore.

Prof Akram told a media briefing on Thursday that the varsity would test vaccine after preliminary data from its phase-I trials on animals showed it was safe for humans and could generate an immune response.

This Punjab government has now stopped the UHS from testing the vaccine and sought a report from the VC to be submitted to the chief minister and chancellor of the university till Aug 11 and barred him from speaking to reporters till further order.

On Thursday last, Prof Akram said the randomised test of the vaccine would initially be conducted on 50 active Covid-19 patients aged below 60.

“Twenty-five participants will receive two doses of the vaccine three weeks apart, and as many others will be given a placebo (a substance that has no therapeutic effect, used as a control in testing new drugs)”, he said, adding the patients would then have blood tests to measure their protective antibody and T-cell responses induced by the vaccine.

Reacting to his scheme, the specialized healthcare & medical education department through a Aug 7 letter told the VC for not seeking permission from the Punjab government.

It stated that the announcement of such a trial without any lawful clearance from the authorities concerned has not only caused embarrassment to the government but also caused undue public expectation and general panic.

“This is prima facie conduct unbecoming of a person of your stature, being vice chancellor of a premium public sector medical university”, reads the Punjab government letter.

The government also raised some questions to be answered by the VC if the clinical trials have been approved by any competent forum in the federal or provincial government before making a public statement or (you) took this decision at your own level.

The letter sought his motives to release such statements to the media as a VC of a public university.

The government asked about the approvals obtained from the competent forum for entering into a clinical/financial arrangement with foreign entities.It also linked the VC’s initiative with the unethical and unprofessional act as a senior and seasoned medical professional.

“Why action should not be taken against you for expressing your views and giving statements on electronic and print media which are against the public policy and are prejudicial to the government stance on such matters?” the Punjab government says, directing him to submit a report.

Published in Dawn, August 8th, 2020

Opinion

Farewell Roosevelt Hotel
21 Jan 2021

Farewell Roosevelt Hotel

It is worth noting that massive plans have been upended and assets are now on the verge of being seized.
A horned dilemma
21 Jan 2021

A horned dilemma

Trump would rather ‘reign in Hell, than serve in Heav’n’.
Violence & Afghan peace talks
Updated 20 Jan 2021

Violence & Afghan peace talks

Many of those killed in recent weeks have actively been campaigning against rampant violence and rising human rights violations

Editorial

Updated 21 Jan 2021

Agosta kickbacks trial

A POLITICALLY significant trial opened in Paris yesterday. Former French prime minister Edouard Balladur is in the...
Updated 21 Jan 2021

Indian media scandal

Common sense, factual reporting and ethics are all chucked out the window in the maddening race for ratings, influence and power.
21 Jan 2021

Rising food prices

FOOD inflation continues to challenge the resolve of the government to control the prices of essential kitchen items...
Updated 20 Jan 2021

Broadsheet judgement

There are plenty of skeletons in the Broadsheet cupboard and they must be brought out into the open.
20 Jan 2021

Unequal justice

IT seems no one wants to testify against former SSP Malir, Rao Anwar. At least five prosecution witnesses, all ...
20 Jan 2021

Schools reopening

THE disruptive impact of Covid-19 on education will be felt for years to come. For countries like Pakistan, where...