MANILA – The country is preparing for the World Health Organization (WHO) Solidarity Vaccine Trial, as the letter of agreement (LOA) was already signed by the Department of Health (DOH) and WHO, an official of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) said Tuesday.
"The LOA indicates the support and participation of the Philippines in the trials, to determine the most effective Covid-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) vaccines suitable for the Filipinos, and the effective number of doses," said DOST Undersecretary Rowena Cristina Guevara in a briefing.
The study also aims to determine which among the Covid-19 vaccines could provide the longest protection, and which could be easily administered and manufactured in the country, Guevara added.
The clinical trials would start once all the legal documents are signed. At present, the Philippine team is preparing the hospital sites and the target communities in selected cities in the National Capital Region where the trials will be conducted.
Guevara said qualified participants would undergo the initial screening of a local vaccine team or a doctor assigned at the trial site, following the WHO protocol.
With regard to the study on using mixed brands of Covid-19 vaccines, Guevara said the country started preparations on July 12. A meeting is scheduled on July 15 to further tackle the implementation of these vaccine trials.
Guevara said 3,000 individuals are eyed to participate in this study. "To ensure the consistency and uniformity in the trials, we will only include those who are not yet inoculated with Covid-19 vaccines," she said.
Manila, Pasig City, Antipolo/Marikina, Makati City, Pasay City, Muntinlupa City, Cebu City, Davao City are the eight proposed sites for the mix and match study, according to Guevara.
The official reiterated that the country's vaccine supply would not be affected by the vaccine trials.
"Clinical trials have a Phase 2 and 3, just like the Solidarity Vaccine Trial, and other privately funded trials. These vaccines could not yet be used in the national vaccination program because these have yet to pass the Phase 3 satisfactory results," she said.
"When the vaccine passes the Phase, this can be included in the country's options for deployment in vaccination programs. The clinical trials will not affect the global scarcity in vaccine supply," she said.
Guevara noted that clinical trials are being conducted to assess the safety and efficacy, and immunogenicity of the vaccines.
"The positive outcome of these studies will be based on data and evidence needed for registration and approval of vaccines for commercialization," she said. (PNA)