Medical &Health

Covid-19: Bangladesh allows emergency use of Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine

The government on Thursday approved the emergency use of the Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine.

The approval will allow Beximco Pharmaceuticals to bring doses from the Serum Institute of India, which is manufacturing the vaccine, Mohammad Salahuddin, deputy director of the Directorate General of Drug Administration (DGDA), said.

On December 13, the government signed an agreement with Serum Institute for procuring Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine.

Under the deal, Bangladesh will import 3 crore doses of SARS-Cov-2 AZD 1222 (Oxford-Astrazeneca vaccine) from Serum in the next six months.

“If everything goes well, then we’ll get the vaccines in mid-January,” Health Minister Zahid Maleques said.

The process to bring Oxford-Astrazeneca vaccine would start in January next, said Zahid adding that a decision was taken in principle that Serum Institute would provide the vaccine at the same price they would procure.

On December 28, Bangladeshi pharmaceutical company Globe Biotech got approval from the DGDA for manufacturing Covid-19 vaccine for clinical trials.

Dr Mohammad Mohiuddin, Manager of Globe Biotech Limited (Head of Quality Operation), said after completing the trial, Globe Biotech would start supplying vaccines following the protocol.

“Hopefully, we’ll be able to begin clinical trials in January. It’ll take five months to finish,” he said. “Vaccine will be available by June if we can begin the clinical trial this month.”

Covid-19 in Bangladesh

Bangladesh on Thursday reported 31 coronavirus-related deaths and 1,007 new cases.

Fatalities have risen to 7,718 since the first death was reported in the country on March 18.

The country’s caseload now stands at 519,905, said the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS).

So far, 3,317,810 tests, including 15,634 new ones, have been carried out. The overall infection rate now stands at 15.67 percent and the mortality rate is 1.48 percent.

However, 464,446 patients – 89.33 percent – have so far recovered.

The country’s infection number reached the 500,000-mark on December 20. The first cases were reported on March 8. The death toll exceeded 7,000 on December 12.

The government has been urging people to follow health safety measures. It has also adopted a “no mask, no service” policy to prevent the spread of the virus.

Source: United News of Bangladesh