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Pakistan approves Sinopharm coronavirus vaccine for emergency use

ISLAMABAD: As Pakistan struggles with a second wave of infections, authorities on Monday green-lighted emergency use of the Chinese anti-coronavirus vaccine by Sinopharm. 

Sources told Geo News that the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan has approved the vaccine for emergency use across the country. The decision was taken in meetings held between January 14 and 18 after reviewing vaccine results data submitted by the National Institute of Health (NIH). 

The development allows federal and provincial governments, and private sector to import the Chinese vaccine. In December 2020, Federal Minister for Science and Technology Chaudhry Fawad Hussain said Pakistan will purchase 1.2 million COVID-19 vaccine doses from China’s Sinopharm. 

The anti-coronavirus vaccine is developed by China National Biotec Group (CNBG), a Sinopharm subsidiary. On December 30, Sinopharm announced that phase III trials showed the vaccine was 79% effective.  

But the United Arab Emirates, which approved the the vaccine for emergency use in December, said interim results of phase III trials showed 86% it was effective. 

The vaccine has been approved for use in China, Jordan, Egypt Bahrain and Serbia. 

Read more: Pakistan’s drug authority approves emergency use of AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine

This is the second vaccine approved for emergency use in Pakistan. Last Friday, DRAP green-lighted use of AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine. Pakistan is currently running phase III clinical trials for CanSino Biologics’ vaccine candidate, Ad5-nCoV, led by the government-run National Institute of Health.

The country’s COVID-19 case tally surged to 521,211 on Monday with over 1,900 new infections reported in 24 hours. Pakistan has witnessed 48.8 deaths on average every day due to coronavirus since the start of January 2021 with hospital intensive care units nearing capacity across the country. 

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