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Experts for conducting study to understand vaccine performance

September 24, 2021 00:00:00

As Bangladesh is now administering four types of Covid vaccines without joining the trial of any of those health experts suggest conducting a comprehensive study to know their comparative performances and the longevity of antibodies they produce.

They said some small studies have been conducted by different organisations in the country with insignificant sample size, mainly on the efficacy of AstraZeneca vaccine, but there is no study on other vaccines -- Pfizer, Moderna and Sinopharm.

The analysts think an inclusive study will help understand which vaccine is most suitable and effective in Bangladesh as the efficacy of vaccines varies from country to country and race to race, reports UNB.

Besides, the analysts also said a nationwide serosurveillance also should be conducted to know how much people gained natural antibody through Covid infection and its durability as they believe a good portion of the population has already been infected with the virus.

According to the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS), a total of 23,167,924, people received the first dose of vaccines while 15,262,693 both doses as of September 21.

Of the dispensed 23,167,924 first shot, 7,042,743 are of AstraZeneca jabs, while 55,852 of Pfizer, 2,578,567 of Moderna and 13,490,762 of Sinopharm ones.

Of the administered second dose, some 5,402,884 people received AstraZeneca jabs while 44,621 people Pfizer, 2,390,619 people Moderna and 7,424,569 Sinopharm ones.

Infectious disease expert Dr Be-Nazir Ahmed, a former director (Disease Control) at the DGHS, said usually the efficacy of any vaccine is examined during its trial.

"But the effectiveness of any vaccine varies from country to country and race to race. So, it was necessary for our country to join the trial of different vaccines. Since no vaccine trial was conducted here, we need to understand the comparative performance of the vaccines through a large-scale post-vaccination study," he said.

The expert said the Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR) should conduct a major study across the country to know the separate results of all the vaccines being used in Bangladesh.

He said the government has allocated enough fund for such studies, but IEDCR cannot do it due to various constraints, including manpower shortage.

"Through a widespread study, we'll be able to know whether the vaccines can give our people necessary protection. If we find any vaccine is not working well, then we can stop collecting that particular vaccine. We're now blindly procuring the vaccines without knowing how they are working," Dr Be-Nazir observed.

Echoing Dr Be-Nazir, renowned scientist and Gono Bishwabidyala's microbiology department Prof Dr Bijon Kumar Sil said though Bangladesh has been administering vaccines approved by the WHO, it is now important to know the comparative results of those by conducting a scientific study with representative samples.

He said Pfizer and Moderna are the same type of vaccines though they need different levels of temperature for preservation while AstraZeneca and Sinopharm are totally different types of vaccines. "So, we need to see which of the four vaccines is most suitable for our country's people through a comparative study."

Dr Bijon said such a study will also help know which vaccine is giving greater antibodies and which one's antibody remains for a long period.

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