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Bangladesh to sign vaccine deal with China

29 April 2021 bdnews24.com

Bangladesh will soon sign a contract to import the coronavirus vaccine made by China's Sinopharm, says Health Minister Zahid Maleque.
Negotiations with China to import vaccines have progressed significantly, the minister said during the virtual inauguration of a 150-bed asthma centre at the National Institute of Diseases of the Chest and Hospital (NIDCH) on Wednesday.
"We have already signed a contract with Russia and are in talks with China. We'll make a deal with Sinopharm soon," he said.
The government and Beximco Pharmaceuticals are continuing negotiations with India to secure the AstraZeneca vaccine, said Maleque.
The NIDCH's new unit will broaden the scope for
coronavirus patients to seek medical treatment.
"This has strengthened us to combat against the coronavirus. The hospital has better medical equipment for infectious diseases. The staff are trained and courageous and can provide better service," Maleque said.
A signage of Sinopharm is seen at the 2020 China International Fair for Trade in Services (CIFTIS), following the COVID-19 outbreak, in Beijing, China September 5, 2020. Reuters
Recently the spread of coronavirus infection is showing a downtrend but health guidelines should be maintained for some time, he said.
"We have noticed that the number of patients has dropped, with half of hospital beds now empty. There are many reasons behind the drop. People are wearing masks these days and following the health protocol. This is a ray of hope for us."
The pathogen will spread quickly again if people ignore the health restrictions, Maleque said, citing India as an example.
"We don't want Bangladesh to face a similar situation."
The World Health Organization expects to decide whether to give emergency approval for Sinopharm's COVID-19 vaccine by next week, Assistant Director-General Mariângela Batista Galvão Simão told a briefing on Monday.
China has already deployed millions of doses of Sinopharm and Sinovac vaccines at home and has exported them to many countries, particularly in Latin America, Asia and Africa.
An emergency listing from the WHO is an indication to national regulators of a shot's safety and efficacy, and would allow the Chinese vaccines to be included in COVAX, the global programme to provide vaccines mainly for poor countries.
If approved, the Chinese vaccines would be the first from a non-Western country to gain approval from the global health body. So far the WHO has given emergency approval to vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech, AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson. It is also expected to review Moderna's shot this week.
No detailed efficacy data has been released on vaccines made by Sinopharm. It has said two vaccines developed by its units are 79.4 percent and 72.5 percent effective respectively, based on interim results.

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