Pakistani diplomat impressed by facilities, research into China's COVID-19 vaccines
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BEIJING, Dec 19 (APP):After visiting Sinopharm, one of China’s three leading companies engaged in COVID-19 vaccine development, Muneeb Ahmed Pasha, a diplomat from the Pakistani Embassy in China, said he was “impressed” by its “state-of-the art facilities and quality of research.”

Joining a group of around 30 ambassadors and diplomats from various countries in November, Pasha, first secretary from the embassy’s political wing, had a tour of Sinopharm’s Beijing factory and a comprehensive briefing and Q&A session over the COVID-19 vaccine.

“Sinopharm’s confidence in the efficiency and safety of its COVID-19 vaccine was reassuring.

It was not surprising given that China has a long history of developing successful vaccines and medical treatments,” he told the Global Times.

A large number of people have already received the COVID-19 vaccines developed by the company.

The inactivated vaccines developed by Sinopharm are leading the world in all aspects including clinical trials, production and emergency use status and research and development, according to previous media reports.

During the tour, what impressed the diplomat most was the monitoring protocols put in place to ensure safety, transparency and effectiveness of the entire development cycle and the strict scrutiny and adherence to all necessary regulations around vaccine development, which are indeed a remarkable achievement for China, he said.

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Currently Sinopharm is collaborating on vaccine trials with the Karachi University’s International Centre for Chemical and Biological Sciences.

Cansino Biologics is carrying out Stage III clinical trials in Pakistan together with a local partner. Recently, Anhui Zhifei Longcom Biopharmaceutical also entered into an agreement with a Pakistani enterprise to carry out Stage III trials in Pakistan.

“I have every confidence that our cooperation in this important area will produce fruitful results for the people of Pakistan, China and the world,” he said.

“Pakistan looks forward to working with China to ensure fair and equitable access to an eventual COVID-19 vaccine,” added the diplomat.

At least two groups of diplomats in Beijing have been invited to visit Sinopharm. The Global Times learnt diplomats from embassies from Myanmar, Egypt and Zimbabwe have participated in the tours to get a close look at the vaccine development.

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The Pakistani diplomat said he appreciated China’s pledge to make the vaccine globally available. Despite China’s goodwill in making vaccines more accessible, some countries and media reports have accused China of using “vaccine diplomacy.”

In response to these slanders, Pasha said that “some countries have persisted in their unfortunate and ill-advised attempts to stigmatize and politicize the virus.

The Chinese government and people have overcome this health crisis with a great degree of patience, efficiency, discipline and national unity. China has also provided critical assistance to hundreds of countries around the world.”

“China’s leadership has declared that a vaccine developed in China would be a public good and would be made available to developing countries. This is indeed commendable,” he said.

“At a time when COVID-19’s second wave looms large with great risks for the lives and livelihoods of people around the globe, we require international cooperation and solidarity more than ever.

This collective approach and shared responsibility, in my view, offers the best defence against the virus,” the diplomat stressed.