Thousands of Pakistanis join final trials for China-made vaccine

In this picture taken on November 25, 2020 volunteers wait to be administered the new Chinese-made vaccine for the Covid-19 coronavirus, the first ever Phase 3 clinical trial for any vaccine in Pakistan, at a hospital in Islamabad. (AFP)
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Updated 27 November 2020

Thousands of Pakistanis join final trials for China-made vaccine

  • First time Pakistan has participated in such a trial, which comes amid positive vaccine announcements by Western pharmaceutical companies this month
  • The country has confirmed more than 382,000 cases including over 7,800 deaths since the virus arrived in late February

ISLAMABAD: Thousands of volunteers are flocking to research hospitals across Pakistan to join final-stage clinical trials of a Chinese-made vaccine for the coronavirus.
It is the first time Pakistan has participated in such a trial, which comes amid a string of positive vaccine announcements by Western pharmaceutical companies this month.
The vaccine is being developed by CanSinoBio and the Beijing Institute of Biotechnology China.
“I have volunteered myself for a noble cause that will help humanity,” said a volunteer at Islamabad’s Shifa hospital, where hundreds of participants are being paid about $50 for their trouble.
Others should “step forward and take part in this noble cause which will save lives,” he added.
For years, China has focused much of its attention in Pakistan on mammoth development projects, bankrolling the construction of roads, power plants and a strategic port.
Beijing has now tapped one of its closest allies to participate in the vaccine trials, despite Pakistan’s chequered history with inoculation campaigns.

“We hope to have some findings ready about the accuracy and efficacy of the vaccine in two to three months,” Ejaz Ahmad Khan, the principal researcher overseeing the trial in Pakistan, told AFP.
Officials said Pakistan has already inoculated about 7,000 of the 10,000 participants expected to receive a jab.
The trials come with intensive care wards across the country nearing capacity as a second, deadlier wave of the coronavirus spreads and officials struggle to counter public indifference to the pandemic.
The country has confirmed more than 382,000 cases including over 7,800 deaths since the virus arrived in late February.
Less than a year after the coronavirus that has claimed 1.4 million lives began spreading across the globe, a number of highly promising Covid-19 vaccines are on the cusp of release.
Four separate drug makers have recently announced that their vaccines are effective for most people.
Due to lingering suspicions over vaccines, Pakistan is one of just two countries where polio continues to spread, sparking fears that a new drive to inoculate the population against the coronavirus will fail.
The Chinese vaccine is also undergoing phase 3 trials — or large-scale testing on humans — in several other nations including China, Russia, Chile, Argentina and Saudi Arabia.


Pakistani Twitter rejoices as archrival India beats Australia in cricket win for the ages

Updated 20 min 54 sec ago

Pakistani Twitter rejoices as archrival India beats Australia in cricket win for the ages

  • Pakistan and India are political foes and have one of the most intense sports rivalries in the world
  • Tuesday’s win by India was unequivocally cheered by Pakistani cricket fans who called it “one of the greatest test match wins of all time”

ISLAMABAD: Pakistani social media users rejoiced on Tuesday as India bagged an incredible three-wicket win in the fourth test decider against Australia.

India’s Rishabh Pant timed his innings to perfection, ramping up the aggression in a stellar 89 as India stormed to a record 328-run chase at the Gabba and became the first team to beat the hosts at the Brisbane stronghold since the West Indies in 1988.

Pakistan and India are political archrivals and fierce opponents in the cricket field. But Tuesday’s win was unequivocally cheered by Pakistani cricket fans on Twitter, who called it one of “the greatest test series and test match wins of all time.”

“From 36 all out in the same series to winning it on Australia soil. Wow,” former cricketer and fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar wrote.

“Investing in your players, giving them financial security, protecting them, giving them exposure, having A team tours is eventually bound to pay off. Well done India,” said cricket manager Rehan ulHaq.

“India basically pulled off one of the greatest test series and test match wins of all time,” said Uzair Younus, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council. “To win Down Under [Australia] is an achievement on its own. But to do it when several first-team players are out injured is a whole new level of achievement. Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant.”

“Given results, their injuries, and lack thereof of the home side, this Indian team is probably the greatest from South Asia to tour Australia,” said Umair Javed, an assistant professor at LUMS, Pakistan’s most prestigious private university.

“Cricket is the winner (and Australia the loser),” Javed said in another tweet.

“What a fight back by Indian cricket team in the series, they’ve played quality cricket. From 36-all out in first test to 2-1 up. Commendable. Love and respect from Pakistan,” Twitter user Taliha said, posting one of thousands of tweets praising the Indian team’s performance.

“Tremendous cricket by Indians,” Haider Rasool wrote. “Love from Pakistan.”

One Indian Twitter user posted: “Thank you Pakistan. Today’s win is ever more special because of support from neighbor.”

Strained relations between the two nations, who were one country before the partition of British India split them into India and Pakistan in 1947, and a decades-long dispute over the Himalayan valley of Kashmir conflict, has laid the foundations of one of the most intense sports rivalries in the world.

Pakistan and Indian have not played a bilateral Test series since 2008 when already brittle ties were shattered by the Mumbai terror attacks.