Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) has granted Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) to five Coronavirus vaccines so far.
Three of these vaccines have been developed by Chinese pharmaceutical companies- Sinopharm, CanSinoBIO, and Sinovac- while one each has been developed by Russia and Oxford University.
Pakistan launched its COVID-19 vaccination campaign with frontline healthcare workers on 2 February after receiving 500,000 doses of the Sinopharm vaccine. The immunization drive was later extended to senior citizens as well.
More than 1 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered to frontline healthcare workers and senior citizens under the ongoing mass vaccination drive.
While the countrywide Coronavirus vaccination campaign continues to progress at a steady pace, here is all you need to know about all the DRAP-approved vaccines.
China National Pharmaceutical Group Corporation (CNPGC) commonly referred to as Sinopharm is the state-owned vaccine manufacturer behind the ‘Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine.’
Phase-III clinical trials of Sinopharm’s vaccine were held in Pakistan, Argentina, Bahrain, Egypt, Morocco, Peru, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in which more than 60,000 volunteers participated.
The results showed that Sinopharm’s vaccine is 79% effective at preventing COVID-19 infection. No adverse side effects of the vaccine have been reported so far.
Sinopharm’s vaccine has been approved for emergency use in many countries in Asia, Africa, South America, and Europe.
While 80 million doses of Sinopharm’s vaccine have been administered so far across the world, CNPGC is expected to manufacture 1 billion doses of its COVID-19 vaccine in 2021.
AD5-nCOV is known as the COVID-19 vaccine developed by Tianjin-based Chinese pharmaceutical company, CanSino Biologics.
Phase-III clinical trials of AD5-nCOV were held in Pakistan, Chile, Mexico, Argentina, Russia, and Saudi Arabia in which more than 40,000 volunteers participated.
The results showed that AD5-nCOV is 65.7% effective at preventing moderate and 91% effective at preventing severe COVID-19 infection. In the Pakistani subset, the vaccine offered 75% protection against moderate and 100% protection against severe COVID-19 infection.
No adverse side-effects of the CanSinoBIO vaccine have been reported so far.
CanSinoBIO’s vaccine has been approved for emergency use in Pakistan, Malaysia, Mexico, Chile, and Hungary.
CanSino Biologics is expected to manufacture 500 million doses of AD5-nCOV by the end of 2021.
CoronaVac is an inactivated virus COVID-19 vaccine developed by the Chinese biopharmaceutical company, Sinovac Biotech.
Phase III clinical trials of CoronaVac are being held in Brazil, Chile, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Turkey.
Clinical trials in Brazil showed 50.4% efficacy in preventing symptomatic infection, 78% efficacy in preventing mild infection, and 100% efficacy in preventing severe infection. Trials in Turkey and Indonesia confirmed the vaccine to be 83.5% and 65.3% effective respectively.
Results from Chile and the Philippines are still awaited that is why the final report detailing the overall efficacy rate and side effects has not yet been released by Sinovac Biotech.
Many countries in Asia, South America, North America, and Europe have already approved CoronaVac.
Sinovac has delivered 200 million doses of CoronaVac while 100 million doses of CoronaVac have been administered globally.
CoronaVac is being separately manufactured in China, Brazil, Indonesia, Egypt, and Malaysia.
Moscow-based Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology is the manufacturer of Sputnik V.
Phase-III clinical trials of Sputnik V were held by Gamaleya Institute in less than 2 months before registering the world’s first effective COVID-19 vaccine in August 2020.
Clinical trials showed that Sputnik V is 91.6% effective at preventing COVID-19 disease while no unusual side effects of the vaccine were reported.
Many countries in Asia, Europe, Africa, South America, and North America have approved Sputnik V for use.
Sputnik V is being separately manufactured in Russia, India, China, South Korea, and Brazil.
Pakistan had imported 50,000 doses of Sputnik V last month through the private sector while DRAP had fixed the price of the two-dose Sputnik V vaccine at Rs. 8,449.
AZD1222 is the COVID-19 vaccine developed by the Oxford University and a UK-based pharmaceutical firm, AstraZeneca.
Phase-III clinical trials of AstraZeneca’s vaccine were held in the UK, US, Brazil, South Africa, Japan, and India in which more than 30,000 volunteers participated.
AstraZeneca’s vaccine is 79% effective at preventing symptomatic COVID-19 infection and 100% effective at preventing severe disease and hospitalization.
Barring the US, China, and Russia, AstraZeneca’s vaccine has been approved for use across the world. Whereas, Serum Institute of India has been manufacturing more than 50 million doses of AstraZeneca’s vaccine per month to cater to the global demands.
However, more than a dozen countries (mostly in Europe) have suspended the use of AstraZeneca’s Coronavirus vaccine as a precautionary measure after a number of people suffered rare blood clots and brain hemorrhages after receiving the vaccine.
Note that Pakistan is also set to import 45 million doses of AstraZeneca’s Coronavirus vaccine through COVAX. 15 million doses will reach Pakistan during H1 2021 while the remaining 30 million doses will be procured during H2 2021.