May 17, 2021

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Proposal to produce Indian vaccine in Bangladesh

India has offered to produce covacin in a joint venture after the Oxford-Astragenecar vaccine failed to provide covshield. The Indian High Commission in Dhaka on Saturday sent a ‘note verbal’ (diplomatic message) to the foreign ministry in this regard. Covacin is a corona vaccine invented by India Biotech, an Indian biotechnology company. The tick is undergoing a ‘Phase Three Trial’ in India. The Biotech and the Indian Center for Medical Research (ICMR) said on Wednesday that the covacin has so far proved to be 8 per cent effective against cavities.

At the beginning of the covacin innovation process last year, India also discussed vaccinating Bangladesh and co-producing it.
The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, Covishield, was approved by the World Health Organization (WHO) and Bangladesh took the initiative to bring the vaccine.

On the other hand, Bangladesh did not take the initiative to bring the vaccines of China and Russia, including India’s own vaccine ‘Kovacin’, as they were not approved by the World Health Organization. Foreign Minister. AK Abdul Momen told Kaler Kanth last week that the decision on vaccination was taken by medical experts in Bangladesh. Demand for this specialty has grown significantly as a result of recent medical scandals in India. Many in that country are opposed to exporting without meeting their own needs. In such a context, the government has taken initiative to bring vaccines from China and Russia and to jointly produce Russian vaccines in Bangladesh, even though it is not approved by the WHO. The foreign ministers of Bangladesh, China, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Afghanistan are set to hold a virtual meeting next Tuesday (April 26th) to discuss various issues, including vaccination, against ticks.

Diplomatic sources say that as Bangladesh is now moving towards importing and producing Chinese and Russian vaccines that are not WHO approved, the proposal for India’s covacin, which has been pending for months, has reached a new level. The initiative has been intensified by sending a ‘note verbal’ to the Ministry of External Affairs from the Indian High Commission in Dhaka yesterday.

It is learned that India has told the Bangladesh government in note verbal that they are trying to meet their internal demand. At the same time, efforts are being made to increase the production of other reputed vaccine manufacturers, including the Serum Institute of India, to meet the obligation to supply vaccines as per the agreement.

Indian diplomatic sources say the United States has cut off exports of raw materials for vaccine production in India due to domestic demand. If raw materials are not available, vaccine exports from India will be suspended under the agreement. The developing countries of the South have to take care of themselves in this situation.

In the message, India said that since last year, Bangladesh and the Indian government have been working to ensure safe and readily available vaccines for the people of Bangladesh. This is a reflection of the second dose of vaccine received by the people of Bangladesh. In addition, ICDDRB and Bharat Biotech signed an agreement in December last year for the clinical trial of Phase III of Kovacin. However, the approval to start that trial has not been received yet. Covacin is more effective than the Oxford-AstraZeneca covacillin, about 70 percent.

India further said that if co-vaccine production had started in Bangladesh through increasing our capacity and through a number of manufacturing companies, the ‘Made in Bangladesh’ vaccine could have been supplied to our country and other friendly countries. Every Bangladeshi was proud of it. However, that opportunity is not over yet. We still have the opportunity to make the most of that opportunity.

The foreign minister told Kaler Kantha last week that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Foreign Minister Dr. Jayashankar has taken Kovacin.

Asked about India’s new message, sources said it was the foreign ministry’s responsibility to communicate about the vaccine. The concerned department and technical committee of the Ministry of Health will decide which vaccine will be brought or which will be approved. Undoubtedly, this proposal of India has brought great opportunities for Bangladesh in the present context.

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