5 hospitals eyed for clinical trials of COVID-19 vaccine from China

Gaea Katreena Cabico - Philstar.com
5 hospitals eyed for clinical trials of COVID-19 vaccine from China
Undated photo shows coronavirus vaccine candidate developed by Sinovac Biotech Ltd.

MANILA, Philippines — Five hospitals have been named as sites for the planned clinical trials of a potential coronavirus vaccine although talks with the Chinese vaccine manufacturer are still ongoing, the Department of Health said.

In a media briefing Monday, DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said negotiations are still ongoing between the government and Chinese drug maker Sinovac Biotech Ltd.

“Everything is under discussion for now. We are still negotiating. But for initial information, we already have proposed sites where this clinical trial is going to be implemented,” Vergeire said.

These include the Philippine General Hospital, San Lazaro Hospital, Manila Doctors Hospital, the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine and Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center.

The vaccine candidate produced by Sinovac is among the few in the world to enter Phase 3 clinical trials—or large-scale human trials—the last step before regulatory approvals.

The vaccine, known as CoronaVac, is already being tested in Brazil, the nation with the second-highest number of COVID-19 infections after the United States. Indonesia signed an agreement with Sinovac for 50 million doses of a vaccine that will allow state-owned PT Bio Farma to produce doses locally.

Vergeire said the local partner of Sinovac had submitted an application for late-stage clinical evaluation. She added that a confidentiality disclosure agreement had been filed.

“This is being studied by the vaccines experts panel. We’ll provide information once everything is finalized,” Vergeire said.

She previously said the country is in talks with 16 pharmaceutical companies that are developing coronavirus vaccines.

Government officials are expecting that a vaccine against COVID-19 may be available in the country by the second quarter of 2021.

The country’s confirmed coronavirus cases reached over 217,000 as of Sunday. Of the figure, 157,403 have recovered, while 3,250 have died.

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