DOH eyes local Phase 3 trials for COVID-19 vaccines
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.
Handout/Russian Direct Investment Fund/AFP
DOH eyes local Phase 3 trials for COVID-19 vaccines
Sheila Crisostomo (The Philippine Star) - August 15, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health is pushing for a “local setting” for Phase 3 of the clinical trials for the Russian-made Sputnik V vaccine for COVID-19, a DOH official said on Thursday.

In an interview with “The Chiefs” on One News / TV 5, DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire noted that vaccines give “different effects to different ethnic groups so it is important” for Sputnik V to have the Phase 3 trial in a Philippine setting.

“Vaccines have their own characteristics that sometimes the effects are different on specific populations… So vaccine experts want the vaccine to be tried in our local setting to see if it will be safe based on our ethnicity,” she explained.

Vergeire said at a press briefing that it is actually the “direction of the Philippine government to have localized Phase 3 clinical trials” not only for Sputnik V but for other vaccines for COVID-19.

Aside from Sputnik V, another vaccine in the advanced stage of development is the one of biotechnology company Moderna in the United States.

The US government, however, reportedly does not have plans to do clinical trials outside the country, although it will provide vaccines to other nations.

Vergeire added that even if there is no clinical trial for Moderna outside the US, the Philippines is assured of getting reliable results because there are Filipino-Americans who will participate in Phase 3 trials.

Science and Technology Secretary Fortunato dela Peña said separate clinical trials for vaccines being developed by other countries are expected to start next month.

Dela Peña said at a virtual press briefing yesterday that any vaccine successfully tested would be ready for public use by May to July next year.

“At least, we’re now at the stage of finalizing the confidentiality agreements to be signed by the DOST (with the different institutions),” Dela Peña said. “The process is quite long.”  –  Rainier Allan Ronda

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