Bangavax about to turn into reality
It is encouraging to note that after months of a confusing delay, Bangladesh Medical Research Council (BMRC) has given ethical approval to the human trial of Covid-19 vaccine Bangavax manufactured by Globe Biotech Ltd . Following the approval, Globe Biotech will now apply to the DGDA (Directorate General of Drug Administration) for conducting a human trial. And the company will start experimental application in human body as soon as it gets the approval of the department.
Needs be mentioned, on 2 July 2020, Globe Biotech Limited announced to be the first company from Bangladesh to have a COVID-19 vaccine under development. The lone Bangladeshi company actually developed three COVID-19 vaccine candidates with different technologies. But The Bangladesh government has been criticized for not approving the vaccine even after months to conduct the first clinical trial without any explanation. Now our locally manufactured vaccine is about to turn into a reality.
However, the special feature of this vaccine is that effective antibodies have been found in a single dose in animal trials. The vaccine can be stored for up to one month at 4 degree Celsius and up to six months at minus 20 degree Celsius.
Globe Biotech has claimed that Bangavax is 100 per cent effective against all variants of Coronavirus, including the highly contagious Indian Delta variant. The company has also claimed that results of experiments performed on monkeys (animal trials) have shown evidence of its effectiveness. But we are yet to see what results it delivers once experimented on humans.
The point, however, we wish all the best for the indigenously manufactured vaccine to pass all required tests and approvals. Once a locally manufactured vaccine is available in the market, our government's excessive dependence on imported foreign vaccines will fast come down. Moreover, after meeting local demand Globe Biotech may well explore possibilities to export beyond our borders, so to give a boost to its global reputation.
In particular, we would focus on three aspects surrounding the potential success of Bangavax.
First, the vaccine must meet all international standards, so that major countries are convinced of its efficacy and allow our vaccinated citizens to travel freely by lifting up needless restrictions.
Second, our expectation from Globe Biotech is that the company must aim in vaccinating majority of citizens - following a steady supply once it is ready with all approvals - instead of exclusively focusing on profit making. Therefore, the price must be fixed at a low cost and strictly regulated.
And third, we have witnessed how politicisations of vaccines worldwide have divided countries and continents. Bangavax must be kept free of all dirty politics.