5 PH hospitals designated as clinical trial sites for WHO vaccine tests
MANILA, Philippines—At least five hospitals in Metro Manila and Cebu City have been designated as clinical trial sites for the vaccine being developed against SARS Cov2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.
Dr. Nina Gloriani, chair of the country’s vaccine expert panel, said that the team initially selected the five hospitals as sites for the World Health Organization’s Solidarity Trial for Vaccines since these were located in areas where there are high coronavirus transmission rates.
These hospitals are the Philippine General Hospital, Research Institute for Tropical Medicine, Manila Doctors Hospital and San Lazaro Hospital in Metro Manila and Vicente Sotto Medical Center in Cebu City.
Gloriani, at an online press briefing on Wednesday (July 8), said one of the requirements for a facility to qualify as clinical trial site “is that there should be a high transmission rate” of coronavirus.
She said other hospitals could be qualified “based on COVID-19 rates later on.”
The WHO’s trials for the candidate vaccine for coronavirus are initially set for October this year to March 2021. Gloriani, though, said the trials could extend until September 2021.
In the third phase of clinical trials, the safety and efficacy of the vaccine are tested on thousands of patients.
For the WHO trials, there are some 1,000 to 5,000 patients who will be part of the study. Country allocation has yet to be determined by WHO, Gloriani said.
Priority will be given to those aged 18 to 59 and are at high risk of infection, like health care workers and persons who have come into contact with COVID-19 patients.
The elderly and those with preexisting medical conditions could be included later “depending on the results” of the priority group, according to Gloriani.
She said one or two doses of the trial vaccines could be tested per subject but she doesn’t know yet which vaccine the WHO would use in the so-called solidarity trials.
Gloriani said the primary outcome of the vaccine was expected to be known “six months after immunization.”
Aside from the WHO Solidarity Trial, tests involving vaccines being developed by five Chinese and Taiwanese pharmaceutical groups have been approved by the InterAgency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF), Gloriani said.
The firms from China building the vaccine are the Chinese Academy of Science-Guangzhou Institute of Biomedicine and Health, Sinovac Biotech Ltd. and Sinopharm which collaborated with the Wuhan Institute and Beijing Biologicals Institute for the development of its candidate vaccine. From Taiwan, these are the Adimmune Corp. and Academia Sinica.
Jaime Montoya, executive director of the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development, said the Philippines’ participation in clinical trials is the “best short-term strategy” to ensure access to the vaccine.
“This ensures that these vaccines will be accessible and available in the Philippines,” Montoya said.
He said it would also secure a “shorter and easier route” of registration with the Food and Drugs Administration “so that Filipinos can immediately benefit from the vaccine that has been proven effective in the clinical trials.”
There are currently 21 vaccines worldwide undergoing various stages of clinical trials. At least 139 are on the preclinical evaluation stage.
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