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DOH: Philippines in talks with 16 COVID-19 vaccine manufacturers
This handout picture taken on August 6, 2020 and provided by the Russian Direct Investment Fund shows the vaccine against the coronavirus disease, developed by the Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology.
AFP/Russian Direct Investment Fund, Handout

DOH: Philippines in talks with 16 COVID-19 vaccine manufacturers

Gaea Katreena Cabico (Philstar.com) - August 14, 2020 - 12:57pm

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines is reaching out to 16 pharmaceutical companies in other countries that are developing vaccines for coronavirus disease, the Department of Health said Friday.

In a media forum, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the country is not only talking to Russia on possible collaborations for COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials.

“What we have right now is we are discussing, exploring avenues,” Vergeire said.

“We already have about 16 vaccine manufacturers na may mga different stages na tayo ng pakikipag-usap through our bilateral partners,” she added.

The health official also said the country has committed to the World Health Organization solidarity trial for vaccine. The Department of Science and Technology, which heads the sub-technical working group on vaccine development, previously said the country will participate in Phase 3 clinical trials for four or five vaccines that are pre-qualified by the WHO.

The Philippines also joined the COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access (COVAX) facility, which aims to help ensure fair and equitable access to coronavirus vaccines. Under the COVAX facility, vaccines will be initially delivered equally to all participating countries, initially prioritizing health care workers, then expanding to cover 20% of the population.

“So all of these are being explored lahat ng pwedeng magkaroon ng pagkakataong makasali sa clinical trials. So we are not very specific na dun sa Russian vaccine lang tinitignan natin. Minamapa ang meron sa buong mundo na maka-be-benefit sa ating kababayan,” Vergeire said.

(So all of these are being explored, all chances to participate in clinical trials. We are not very specific on the Russian vaccine only. We are mapping what is available worldwide that will be beneficial for the citizens.)

Regulatory process

Malacañang laid out Thursday a schedule for Sputnik V, Russia’s coronavirus vaccine, with the Moscow-funded clinical trials in the archipelago expected to take place from October to March next year.

If the trials are successful, the country’s Food and Drug Administration FDA may approve the vaccine developed by Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology by April 2020. It may be deployed in May next year.

Russia claims Sputnik V works even thought it has not undergone Phase 3 clinical trials—an important testing phase before receiving regulatory approval.

Vergeire reiterated that the government will study coronavirus vaccines carefully.

“Lahat ng bakuna whether it be the Russian vaccine or any other vaccine in Phase 3 na papasok sa bansa, it’ll go through the regular regulatory process of the government,” she said.

(All vaccines whether it's the Russian vaccine or any other vaccine in Phase 3 that will reach the country, they'll go through the regular regulatory process of the government.)

FDA Director General Eric Domingo earlier told Philstar.com that the agency will evaluate the application for clinical trials or registration of Sputnik V once it is filed. 

According to the WHO, a total of 168 candidate vaccines against coronavirus are being developed worldwide. Out of the 28 candidate vaccines in clinical evaluation, six are already in Phase 3. 

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