Huge Potential for Pak-China Vaccine Cooperation

By Mariam Raheem | Gwadar Pro Sep 12, 2021

ISLAMABAD, Sep 11(Gwadar Pro)-There is a huge potential between China and Pakistan in vaccine cooperation, especially research, training, exchange programs. China has advanced labs, IT, Big Data, medical innovation and 5G. This can be the beginning for development of joint research labs across China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which is also an integral part of China Pakistan Health Corridor (CPHC) initiative. Research and development of existing and new vaccines can be initiated.

The above views were expressed by Dr. Muhammad Shahbaz, President of China Pakistan Medical Association (CPMA) & Executive Director WHO Traditional Medicine Foundation. He is also the initiator and founder of CPHC, which was established in 2017 and to be officially inaugurated this month.

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 epidemic, the governments of Pakistan and China have joined hands to combat the pandemic. Pakistan was one of the first countries to receive a Chinese vaccine. Dr. Muhammad Shahbaz stated that compared to other vaccines, Sinopharm and Sinovac are more compatible for Pakistani people as the clinical phase III trials were conducted in Pakistan. Currently Sinopharm, Sinovac are being inoculated to Pakistani people and in cooperation with the Chinese Government Pakvac has been developed locally in Pakistan.

It was learned that Pika recombinant COVID-19 vaccine with dual function of treatment and prevention developed by a Chinese Pharmaceutical company Yisheng Bio with a broader spectrum for variations (like South Africa strains, Brazil strain, Indian strain, etc.) also has a strong intention to conduct its clinical phase 2 trail in Pakistan recently.

Production of vaccine in Pakistan will create opportunities for research collaboration, technology transfer, scientific exchanges and will lead the development of Pakistan's pharmaceutical and medical industry to the next level. It can also create the infrastructure necessary for vaccine production and provide platform and basis for production and research of other existing and novel vaccines in Pakistan.

Pakistan is at a crucial stage in the immunization world. It is one of the two remaining countries in the world where poliomyelitis (polio) is still categorized as an endemic viral infection. According to Dr. Muhammad Shahbaz, there is also a necessity for collaboration between China and Pakistan, in developing new vaccines and producing the current vaccines. “China and Pakistan have great opportunity to develop joint research labs and develop polio and other vaccines. The mode of cooperation can be the same as it was established previously with western countries and WHO adding digitalization using IT, Big Data & telemedicine.”

Dr. Muhammad Shahbaz highlighted that it is critical for China and Pakistan to carry out more public-private academic cooperation in the field of health care. CPMA can play an important role for the technology transfer, medical education, research and the training of youth, so more people can benefit from these advanced technologies. “Under the framework of CEPC, there has been a Government-to-Government cooperation in the past between Pakistan and China. More cooperation in private sectors means the long-term stability of the project.”  

The fast-growing population and the number of diseases and complexity makes it far difficult for one country to tackle healthcare issues successfully. Collective efforts by multiple countries are necessary to combat global health problems such as infectious diseases, lifestyle risks and health inequality, which all span beyond one sovereign border. “Post COVID-19 era has increased the significance of multidisciplinary & multinational cooperation to combat the current pandemic situation and to establish a state-of-the-art system to revolutionize the health care system for a healthy and prosperous future for our generations to come.” Dr. Muhammad Shahbaz concluded.

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