DOH: WHO ‘solidarity trials’ for COVID-19 vaccine may start by end-October
MANILA, Philippines — The World Health Organization’s (WHO) “solidarity trials” for potential coronavirus disease vaccines may start in the Philippines by the last week of October, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said Friday.
Information from the Department of Health (DOH) showed that WHO will identify the vaccines to be included in the trials by the third or fourth week of September, then identify the sites where the trials will be conducted by end of September.
“Tinitingnan natin ‘yung third or fourth week of October para maumpisahan ito, kasi una sa pilot site pagkatapos all the sites that were identified already isasama na so we are looking at third to the fourth week of October for this,” Vergeire told a press briefing when asked about the timeline for the solidarity trials.
(We are looking at the third or fourth week of October for the start of the trials. It will be conducted first on a pilot site and then on the remaining sites that were identified, so we are looking at having these trials in the third or fourth week of October.)
Vergeire said the dates were disclosed during a meeting of the country’s sub-technical working group for the vaccines where WHO provided details on the timeline of the trials.
However, she noted that the dates could still be subject to changes due to possible “intervening factors.”
WHO has yet to decide which among the 34 vaccines will be included in this initiative, according to Vergeire.
The government has already identified eight zones for the vaccine trials, which is composed of six in Metro Manila and one each in Calabarzon and Cebu, according to Science and Technology Secretary Fortunato dela Peña.
Meanwhile, Vergeire said the country’s vaccine expert panel has already reviewed and made comments on documents submitted by the Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology that developed the Sputnik V vaccine from Russia.
She said the panel is now awaiting the response of the institute to its comments.
“As to the other vaccines, everything is under negotiation,” added Vergeire.
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