The World Health Organization (WHO) and the Philippines have signed an agreement to conduct large scale coronavirus vaccine trials in the country, bringing the study one step closer to starting the process after months of waiting.
Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Undersecretary Rowena Guevara said Health Secretary Francisco Duque III and WHO Chief Scientist Dr. Soumya Swaminathan signed a letter of agreement for the trials recently, while WHO also submitted its final clinical trial protocol, standard operating procedures, and brochures on vaccines to be used in the Philippine trials.
Guevara said the trials are in the regulatory approval phase, where the Philippines’ vaccine expert panel, single joint research ethics board, and Food and Drug Administration are reviewing documents submitted.
Once the FDA gives its approval, vaccine trials can begin. Guevara said permits are expected by the end of July or early August.
Guevara said four vaccines will be part of the solidarity trial with the WHO, adding that the brands would be announced later once the FDA approves the trial.
Funding for the trials has been secured, with the WHO providing P75.2 ($1.5 million) for the program in addition to P483 million from the government.
Guevara earlier said that the study will be done in barangays with high numbers of COVID-19 cases by the time the trial starts. The University of the Philippines-Manila will lead the conduct of the trials in the country.
WHO solidarity trials are expected to boost research and findings on COVID-19 vaccines quickly with its large scale participation among thousands of individuals in various countries. Results for the efficacies of vaccines included in trials could be expected in three to six months, it added.
“The power of the vaccine solidarity trial is its global ambition, and the potential to rapidly deploy and assess vaccines in areas with high transmission,” the WHO said. – Rappler.com