PH to join clinical trials for COVID-19 vaccines
MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang is looking forward to having the country take part in the clinical trials for prospective vaccines against the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) by the end of the year. Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said President Rodrigo Duterte had “expressed optimism” over developments that clinical trials for COVID-19 vaccines were already in the works.
“We expect involvement in the vaccine clinical trials by the last quarter of 2020, with the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) taking a lead role,” Roque said in a statement.“The President wants to save the life of each and every Filipino; and thus places great interest to these clinical trials,” he added.
He made the remarks a day after the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) approved recommendations for the Philippines to join clinical trials for prospective vaccines.
According to IATF Resolution No. 39, the collaborating organizations developing COVID-19 vaccines were: Adimmune Corp. and Academia Sinica, both based in Taiwan; the Chinese Academy of Science–Guangzhou Institute of Biomedicine and Health, and SinoPharm–Wuhan Institute of Biological Products and Beijing Institute, based in China.
SinoPharm is China’s biggest pharmaceutical company and it recently invited the Philippines to join its trial for the COVID-19 vaccine it was developing. Its clinical trial is in its second phase.
The four groups would be provided with the World Health Organization’s (WHO) requirements for COVID-19 vaccine target product profiles, the prequalification process for WHO approvals, and the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) updated guidelines on clinical trials.
The FDA would facilitate the issuance of permits to conduct clinical trials in the Philippines.
Sites to be identified
Roque added that the DOST was also tasked to identify sites for the clinical trials, as well as the local institutions and Filipino researchers who would collaborate in the clinical trials.
The DOST would also formalize the agreements and assist the local institutions in their proposals, budgets, applications for ethics board approvals, etc.
The Palace said the President would be also reviewing the DOST’s recommendations to reactivate the Pharmaceutical Development Center, and to create the Virology Science and Technology Institute of the Philippines.The IATF supported the creation of the two centers in the same resolution, stressing the need to “initiate and strengthen local vaccine development towards the country’s vaccine self-reliance and self-sufficiency.”
Roque said the DOST has included the establishment of the two research facilities in its 2021 budget proposal.
“If and once approved by the President, both can start in 2020, with the Pharmaceutical Group and the Virology Research Group evolving out of DOST’s Industrial Technology Development Institute,” he added.
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