ISLAMABAD: As sample sizes of studies involving local populations matter a lot, the government has decided to almost double the sample size of clinical trial of a Covid-19 vaccine.
The target of vaccinating 10,000 volunteers has been enhanced to 18,000. However, it has been decided that the trial would be completed in the current month so that the process of registration of the vaccine could be started.
As many as 3,499 coronavirus cases and 39 deaths were reported in the last 24 hours.
Vice Chancellor of the University of Health Sciences Prof Dr Javed Akram said the sample size had been enhanced to 18,000 to ensure a comprehensive study. He said so far 9,000 volunteers had been vaccinated.
“As vaccines can have different impacts/results on different races of people so it would be much better to see the efficacy of the vaccine on people of Pakistan. However, we have decided to expedite the pace of the trial and are hopeful that it will be completed by the end of current year,” he said.
As the United Kingdom has registered a vaccine for Covid-19, he said that once the trial would be completed, the process for registration of the vaccine would begin.
“Vaccines are registered after completion of studies. Vaccine will be registered if it would be proved that it is in the best interest of Pakistani nation,” he said.
In August this year, the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan had given approval to hold clinical trial of the Covid-19 vaccine in the country and after that preparations were started. In September this year, Pakistan started clinical trial of the Covid-19 vaccine. Trial is being held in different cities and a vaccine prepared with the cooperation of China is being used to observe that if anti-bodies are developed in volunteers, who are over 18 years and less than 60 years of age.
An official of the Ministry of National Health Services said that Pakistan was mainly focusing on the Chinese vaccine.
“Although $150 million has been allocated, we are reluctant to make advance payment to any pharmaceutical company because we cannot say with certainty which company will bring the vaccine in the market first. We have limited resources and we don’t want to take a gamble. In case of any blunder we will be declared responsible and will face the brunt,” he said.
Meanwhile, the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) on Thursday said that the number of active patients had reached 51,654 and 332 ventilators, out of 1,740 allocated for Covid-19, were in use.
Moreover, the NCOC was informed that the national positivity ratio was 8.16 per cent. Highest 20.12pc positivity ratio was observed in Karachi followed by Hyderabad at 18.43pc and Abbottabad 14.53pc.
Provincial positivity ratio was highest in Sindh i.e. 14.1pc, Balochistan 12.5pc, Azad Jammu and Kashmir 11.9pc, Islamabad 6.6pc, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa 5.6pc, Gilgit-Baltistan 4.7pc and Punjab 4.2pc.
The NCOC was also informed that 2,469 Covid-19 patients were in critical condition across Pakistan and the number of critical patients was rising fast.
Published in Dawn, December 4th, 2020