Pakistani pharmaceutical firm to produce coronavirus vaccine

Pakistan’s coronavirus single-day infections top 5,200, deaths 83

ISLAMABAD: The prospects of production of coronavirus vaccine in Pakistan look certain now as SEARLE Company Limited, a Pakistani pharmaceutical company, entered into an agreement with a Chinese firm for this purpose on Friday.

SEARLE inked an agreement with a Chinese firm for the licensing and supply of the vaccine.

According to the local pharmaceutical company, success rates of the first and second clinical trials of the locally produced vaccine had been excellent while in the third phase more than 20,000 persons would be administered the vaccine to check its efficacy.

SEARLE provided these details to the Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) in writing.

The news of localised production of an anti-Covid vaccine comes on the heels of a private hospital in Karachi is reportedly fleecing people by excessively charging for two-dose Russian-made Covid-19 vaccine, Sputnik-V.

According to the sources, a private medical facility in Karachi has started bookings for administering the Covid-19 vaccine.

The hospital is reportedly charging Rs6,134 for a single dose of Sputnik-V vaccine along with Rs2,500 as administrative charges, separately. Simultaneously, Rs12,268 are being charged from the masses willing to get Sputnik-V two-doses with Rs5,000 as administrative charges, separately.

As per policy, the 15 per cent charges of vaccine are included in the price of the vaccine, but the hospital is reportedly unduly charging the masses.

It is to be noted that the matter of fixing the price of the Russian Sputnik-V vaccine, imported by a private pharmaceutical company, is currently under hearing at the Sindh High Court (SHC).

On March 18, a pharmaceutical company of Pakistan had received the first consignment of the Russian-made Sputnik-V vaccine.

An official of the private firm said that the price of the vaccine would be fixed by the government soon. The Covid-19 vaccines would remain stored at the cold storage till approval of the price by the government.

WORSENING SITUATION:

The third wave of the coronavirus pandemic has tightened its grip in Punjab, Islamabad, and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP). According to experts, the rise in cases is because of the UK variant. Educational institutions in these provinces have all been closed.

In light of the third wave of the pandemic, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) also called off all hearings until April 11, said a notification issued by the Registrar’s Office on Friday.

The decision was taken after coronavirus infections in the capital city increased. The notification was passed on orders of Chief Justice Athar Minallah. Only important cases will be heard during this time. These cases will be decided by the chief justice, the instructions added.

Meanwhile, traffic police issued 23,875 challans for cars and motorcycles in three days in Lahore over violating standard operating procedures (SOPs) designated to control coronavirus pandemic.

12 cases have also been registered for not implementing the orders in public transport while 181 vehicles have also been seized for travelling with over 50 per cent passenger capacity.

Meanwhile, 918 cases have been lodged in six days against the violators across the metropolis whereas 442 cases have been filed at different police stations for not wearing face masks.

There has been no sign of any Covid-19 retreat as Pakistan recorded the single-day highest toll of infections since June 30 last year which is 5,234 with 83 deaths during the last 24 hours, showed the figures released by the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) on Friday morning.

As per the latest NCOC statistics, the addition of 83 new fatalities took the countrywide death tally to 14,613 whereas the number of total confirmed cases stood at 678,165 after adding 5,234 new ones.

As many as 2,148 patients recovered from the virus during the past 24 hours (Thursday). The total recoveries stood at 607,205 and the total count of active cases was recorded at 56,347 whereas the positivity rate stood at 10.43 per cent.

As many as 265,917 coronavirus cases have so far been confirmed in Sindh, 225,953 in Punjab, 89,255 in KP, 59,401 in Islamabad, 19,610 in Balochistan, 12,984 in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) and 5,045 in Gilgit-Baltistan (GB).

As many as 6,485 individuals have so far lost their lives to the pandemic in Punjab, 4,504 in Sindh, 2,382 in KP, 572 in Islamabad, 358 in AJK, 209 in Balochistan and 103 in GB.

A total of 50,170 tests were conducted during the last 24 hours (Thursday) while 10,297,54 samples had so far been tested.

Punjab: Authorities reported 58 deaths due to the coronavirus, raising total casualties to 6,485. The province now has 225,953 confirmed cases; it reported 2,772 new infections after conducting 23,039 tests, a positivity ratio of 12.03 per cent. There were 741 new recoveries recorded, leaving 190,597 fully recovered, and 28,871 active cases of the virus.

Sindh: Confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in Sindh have now climbed to 265,917; it reported 237 new infections on Friday after conducting 8,913 tests, a positivity ratio of 2.66 per cent. The province reported two new deaths, raising the toll to 4,504, while its recoveries rose by 108 to 256,384. Overall, the province now has 5,029 active cases of the novel coronavirus.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa: The provincial government recorded 1,156 new infections after conducting 8,574 tests, a positivity ratio of 13.48 per cent. Overall, KP’s confirmed cases have climbed to 89,255. It recorded 19 new deaths, raising the toll to 2,382, while its recoveries have risen by 526 to 77,166. There are currently 9,707 active cases of Covid-19 in the province.

Balochistan: The province raised its confirmed cases to 19,610 with 34 new infections after conducting 590 tests, a positivity ratio of 5.76 per cent. There were 1 death and 16 recoveries during the past 24 hours (Thursday), leaving 209 fatalities and 19,122 fully recovered. There were now 279 active cases of Covid-19 in the province.

Islamabad: The federal capital raised its confirmed coronavirus cases by 844 to 59,401 after conducting 7,872 tests; a positivity ratio of 10.72 per cent. There were no deaths and 466 recoveries in the past 24 hours, leaving 572 casualties; 48,050 recovered; and 10,779 active cases.

Gilgit-Baltistan: GB reported 12 new cases of the novel coronavirus on Friday after conducting 272 tests, a positivity ratio of 4.41 per cent; it now has 5,045 confirmed cases. The region reported no new deaths or recoveries, leaving 103 fatalities and 4,867 fully recovered people. There are currently 75 active cases of Covid-19 in the region.

Azad Jammu and Kashmir: In AJK, confirmed cases increased by 179 to 12,984 after conducting 910 tests, a positivity ratio of 19.67 per cent. There were three deaths and 74 recoveries in the past 24 hours, leaving 358 fatalities and 11,019 fully recovered. It now has 1,607 active cases of Covid-19.

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