Pakistani regulators have approved final-phase testing of a Chinese-developed potential vaccine against the coronavirus.
The state-run National Institute of Health (NIH) said on August 17 that the Phase III clinical trial would be the first of its kind in Pakistan.
It said the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan approved the advanced clinical trial of the vaccine produced by CanSinoBio, a China-based vaccine developer, and the Beijing Institute of Biotechnology.
"This will be the first ever Phase III clinical trial for any vaccine in Pakistan," the NIH said in a statement.
Pakistan's inclusion in the large-scale testing on humans would help it secure "preferential vaccine supply and pricing,” it added.
The trial will be conducted at several medical facilities across Pakistan.
The experimental vaccine is already undergoing Phase III trials in China, Russia, Chile, and Argentina. Mexico and Saudi Arabia are also planning to join the clinical trials.
COVID-19 has claimed more than 6,000 lives in Pakistan and infected some 290,000, according to official numbers.
More than 150 vaccines are being developed and tested around the world to stop the COVID-19 pandemic, with 25 in human clinical trials, according to the World Health Organization.
The race for a vaccine has set off a global competition among countries trying to ensure they gain timely, secure, and affordable access to any vaccine or treatment.
With reporting by AFP, dpa, AP, and Reuters