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Bangla gives vaccine trial nod to China

By Kalyan Barooah

NEW DELHI, July 24 - Notwithstanding India�s concern, neighbouring Bangladesh has accorded permission to China to conduct human trial of a prospective Corona vaccine. Regulatory body Bangladesh Medical Research Council (BMRC) last Sunday gave �ethical approval� for Phase-3 human trial by China�s private company Sinovac Biotech Limited for the final test.

Sources familiar with the latest development said that they didn�t expect Dhaka to allow Beijing to conduct human trial of vaccine on their population whose habitation is geographically very close to neighbour India.

Sources said that India is worried over the possibility of infected persons coming across the border once the human trial begins. India and Bangladesh have a porous border with long history of illegal infiltration. This has come as a major source of worry for India.

Expressing dismay, sources said that India has repeatedly requested Dhaka for allowing its medical team to conduct a joint study of the disease and assured all help for the Bangladeshi people.

However, to New Delhi�s surprise, the Bangladesh government rushed to welcome the 10-member Chinese medical team and accorded a red carpet welcome to it at Dhaka�s international airport. In a clear departure of protocol, Bangladesh Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen personally went to the airport to receive the Chinese medical team, according to reports from Dhaka.

Meanwhile, Indian High Commissioner of Bangladesh Riva Das Ganguly had met Dr Momen and discussed the possible cooperation between Delhi and Dhaka on combating the pandemic.

As Bangladesh lacks basic health infrastructure, India was keen to have joint health-related programme, including capacity building, which in turn would help Bangladesh in providing basic treatment to their people. India had even proposed to set up modern hospitals like those in Kolkata and Delhi where Bangladeshi people regularly go for treatment.

Sources pointed out that Chinese state-run media Global Times had reported that China was looking for some countries for human trial of their vaccine and in fact they got similar approval from Brazil and UAE for that purpose. Media reports also indicated that China was also looking at Bangladesh for crucial human trial.

BMRC Director Dr Mahmood-Uz-Jahan told media-persons in Dhaka that the BMRC National Ethics Committee has approved Phase-3 clinical trial of the Chinese company�s prospective vaccine. The Dhaka-based International Center for Diarrheal Disease Research submitted a research protocol seeking to carry out the study on human beings.

Dr Jahan claimed that they reviewed the headway of Sinovac�s COVID vaccine development process and they are �convinced that China made potential advancements through earlier two stage trial which is under way in China�.

Meanwhile, according to an international medical journal, in China, an experimental COVID-19 vaccine has been approved for the country�s military before Phase-3 trial completed.

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