PH to increase WHO vaccine trial participants to 4,000
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines will heed the call of the World Health Organization (WHO) to increase its target number of participants for the local run of the WHO’s COVID-19 vaccine trials to 4,000.
“We are in that direction that we will be increasing the number of participants to 4,000. We are just making final arrangements with WHO,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said partly in Filipino during an online press briefing Wednesday.
Earlier, WHO Philippines Country Representative Rabindra Abeyasinghe said they are hoping that the country would increase its allocation to 4,000 participants instead of the target 2,000 to 3,000.
The WHO solidarity trials for COVID-19 vaccine are set to start in the country in December.
According to WHO protocols, trial volunteers should be between the ages of 18 and 60 years old but those with comorbidities and pregnant women will be excluded.
Aside from the WHO, a number of pharmaceutical companies are looking to conduct Phase 3 of the clinical trials of their respective vaccines. Phase 3 is where thousands of patients have to be inoculated with the potential vaccine. It is also usually the final step before approval for mass rollout.
Last week, China’s Sinovac Biotech has submitted to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) its application to conduct Phase 3 of its trials after passing the vaccine experts panel’s initial evaluation.
Sinovac is the first drugmaker to get the panel’s green light. The panel is also evaluating the COVID-19 vaccines of Russia’s Gamaleya Research Institute and Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen subsidiary for late-stage trials.
Meanwhile, talks with US drugmakers Pfizer and Moderna are still ongoing, according to Vergeire.
“(They are) still undergoing talks. We are still trying to negotiate and we are still trying to discuss with them. So there is still no certainty, we still do not have confirmed details regarding this matter,” she said n Filipino.
As of Tuesday, there are 373,144 confirmed cases of COVID-19 nationwide, including 328,602 recoveries and 7,053 deaths.
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