Three possible vaccines against COVID-19 positive to conduct clinical trials in Nepal
KATHMANDU, Aug 24: The Nepal Health Research Center has started preparing for clinical trials of investigational vaccines being developed against COVID-19 in Nepal.
After getting a green signal from the Ministry of Health and Population (MoHP) on Sunday, the NHRC has started preparations for phase III clinical trials for vaccines – developed by researchers in different parts of the world –against COVID-19 in Nepal.
"The NHRC has started preparations for clinical trials for vaccines against COVID-19 following a green signal from the health ministry. We [NHRC] are preparing for phase III clinical trials of three vaccines developed in the United Kingdom, China, and Russia," Pradip Gyawali, member secretary at the NHRC, told Republica.
"The NHRC is discussing clinical trials of Covidshield—a vaccine developed by Oxford University— in Nepal. We [NHRC] have discussed with the World Health Organization (WHO) about phase III trials of Covishield in Nepal. The Oxford university will finalize the clinical trial of Covishield in Nepal within a week," said Gyawali.
Likewise, the Russian Embassy in Nepal is also positive for a phase III clinical trial of a possible vaccine developed against COVID-19 in Nepal. The Russian Embassy is holding several meetings with the concerned government authorities for the clinical trial of "Sputnik-V" – a possible vaccine against COVID-19 developed in Russia.
Although the government of Russia has already approved "Sputnik-V", the vaccine is yet to go through a phase III clinical trial. "Though the vaccine is already approved, no phase III has been conducted. Russia is positive about conducting clinical trials in Nepal. But, the government will study about the vaccine before clinical trials," Gyawali said.
Likewise, the Honghi Group is also positive about conducting trials of a vaccine developed in China in Nepal. The group wants to conduct trials in at least 1,000 volunteers, according to NHRC.
However, the NHRC is yet to set a protocol for conducting clinical trials. "The government is preparing to set a protocol as several companies will show interest for clinical trials," said Gyawali.
According to the World Health Organization, it has tracked more than 170 possible vaccines being developed in different parts of the world. Of them, 138 are in pre-clinical stage – not tested in humans yet. Likewise, 25 are in phase I, 15 in phase II, and 7 in phase III of clinical trials.