Punjab Health Minister Dr Yasmin Rashid on Wednesday inaugurated the “Silk Road Clinical Research Centre” as vaccine trial centre at the University of Health Sciences (UHS).
The construction of the 2,400 sq-ft centre has been gifted by China’s Zhifei Longcom Biopharmaceutical Company, the investigator of ZF2001 coronavirus vaccine clinical trials in Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Ecuador and Indonesia.
Built at a cost of PKR30 millions, the Institution will be used as vaccine trial centre and Advanced Medical Research Institute.
Addressing the ceremony, Dr Yasmin Rashid said:
“Policies should be based on data and evidence generated through this research. Earlier, policies were made on assumptions. The UHS conducted significant trials of the coronavirus vaccines. The government was in the process of collection and analysis of precise data on genetic disorders. Dr Shehnoor Azhar, UHS focal person for vaccine trials, in his briefing said the varsity was approved as a clinical trial site in August 2020.”
In October 2020, a trial of China’s CanSino vaccine was started in which 5,000 volunteers were recruited. The phase-III trials of the second Chinese vaccine ZF2001 began in February 2021, recruiting 2,500 volunteers.
Dr. Shahnoor said:
“During the last two years, 20 partnership agreements were signed with the industry which was evidence of varsity’s research potential”.
UHS Board of Governors Chairman retired chief justice Tassaduq Hussain Jillani termed the establishment of the centre a major challenge for the university in the field of research.
UHS VC Prof Javed Akram said:
“The university had a special interest in gene editing for the treatment of hereditary diseases”.
In addition to Chinese experts, a large number of faculty members attended the event. Dr Yasmin Rashid also distributed shields among Chinese experts and prominent service providers.