WHO’s COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials in PH to start in December

Kristine Sabillo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 26 2020 09:47 PM

MANILA — The start date for the World Health Organization’s (WHO) clinical trials for COVID-19 vaccines was moved further to December 2020, the Department of Health (WHO) said Monday.

“Nag-announce na po ang WHO na mag-uumpisa ang trials by December 2020. So sa November kasi mag-uumpisa sila sa isang site na uumpisahan then magfo-follow na po ang iba’t ibang clinical trials in other countries including the Philippines,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said during a virtual briefing.

(The WHO announced that the trials will start in December 2020. So in November it will start in one site first then it will be followed by clinical trials in other countries including the Philippines.)

The Solidarity Trial for vaccines was slated to start this month but it was repeatedly re-scheduled due to various reasons.

Vergeire said the WHO will announce the trial sites and other details this week.

As for the pharmaceutical companies dealing separately with the Philippines, Vergeire said the vaccine from Chinese company Sinovac is moving forward, following an expert panel’s approval.

She said the panel will meet with the ethics review board to discuss if the company’s application for Phase 3 clinical trials can undergo processing by the Food and Drug Administration.

While most vaccine developers plan to just market their vaccines to the Philippines, some like Sinovac are interested in holding large-scale clinical tests in the country.

Vergeire said Russia’s Gamaleya Institute, one of those interested in holding clinical trials, is already in touch with a local research organization.

“Yung sa Gamaleya yung contract research organization (CRO) nakikipagusap na sila so that the CRO would be the ones to represent them here in the country,” she said.

(For Gamaleya, they are already talking to the the contract research organization (CRO) so that the CRO would be the ones to represent them here in the country.)

Vergeire said that since Janssen’s vaccine clinical trial is still halted, their application cannot move forward yet.