CanSino Biologics, one of China’s leading vaccine makers, inked a deal with Pakistan’s government to sell the Ad5-nCoV vaccine candidate to that nation selling 10,600,000 vaccine doses (5% of the 212m population) for $150 million, equaling a price point of approximately $14 per dose reported the nation’s “de facto” health minister. Like most other nations, Pakistan will first and foremost focus inoculations for frontline healthcare workers followed by the elderly (e.g. over age of 65) reported Faisal Sultan at a recent Islamabad news conference covered by Reuters. Funding was approved directly by the nation’s Prime Minister Imran Khan. Pakistan has been impacted by this latest cold-season wave of COVID-19 with 67 recent deaths and 2,458 cases just reported on Tuesday. Over 400,482 cases of COVID-19 are reported involving 8,091 deaths. The CanSino Biologics’ vaccine (Ad5-nCoV) was the subject of what TrialSite considers a scandal: the government of Canada in good faith negotiated to co-develop the vaccine in that North American country and the product, due to what is probably geopolitical tension, never arrived, leaving Canada with nothing. That North American nation quickly developed a “Plan B.” Pakistan is also considering other options.
Seeking Other Choices
A portfolio of vaccine products is on the mind of the Pakistanis. Should they depend solely on the CanSino Biologics vaccine candidate? Or should they diversify and “…tap more than one source, including some Western manufacturers or some Chinese, so we will move forward with all these options” said Sultan. Of course, the Pakistanis must understand various vaccine efficacy, levels of protection and safety and storage requirements. They are apparently in discussions with multiple companies.
Phase 3 Study with Ad5-nCoV
Pakistan opted for the Ad5-nCoV vaccine candidate for its nationwide Phase 3 clinical trial, led by the state-run National institute of Health along with a local pharmaceutical company called AJM, which apparently is the local representative of CanSino Biologics, reports Reuters’ Asif Shahzad.
Canada Experience: Be Careful
Nations should understand the experience Canada had with CanSino Biologics. That North American country in good faith entered into a co-development deal with CanSino Biologics to test Ad5-nCoV at the Canadian Center for Vaccinology (CCfV) at Dalhousie University in Halifax led by Scott Halperin. Due to political tension, the Ad5-nCoV product was never shipped. TrialSite, one of the few U.S. media to consistently cover this scandal, suggested Canada embark on a “Plan B,” which they do eventually follow.