DOST: Select areas in Metro Manila, Calabarzon, Cebu as COVID-19 vaccine trial zones
Residents of San Juan City gather to receive financial aid from the government on August 28, 2020.
The STAR/Michael Varcas
DOST: Select areas in Metro Manila, Calabarzon, Cebu as COVID-19 vaccine trial zones
(Philstar.com) - September 10, 2020 - 3:13pm

MANILA, Philippines — Select areas in Metro Manila, Calabarzon and Cebu will be designated zones for coronavirus disease vaccine clinical trials, the Department of Science and Technology said Thursday.

DOST Secretary Fortunato de la Peña said six trial zones will come from outbreak epicenter Metro Manila, while Calabarzon and Cebu will have one trial zone each.

“Ang pinipiling lugar ay mataas ang incidence ng COVID-19 so ‘yung mga barangay na naroroon o malapit doon. Usually, it will require anywhere between five and 10 barangay for a trial,” De la Peña said in a televised briefing.

(The areas selected are those with high incidence of COVID-19 cases or barangays near them. Usually, it will require anywhere between five and 10 barangay for a trial.)

According to Resolution 68 of the government’s inter-agency task force on COVID-19, the World Health Organization Solidarity Trial will be prioritized in the assignment of trial zones.

The resolution also said that households joining the trial will be randomly picked. Only permanent residents will be allowed to participate unless transient residents can show proof that they will be staying in the trial site for the next two years.

To address shortage of participants, officials can ask residents from other barangays to join.

Independent clinical trials by private vaccine companies will also be assigned trial zones.

The government previously said the Philippines was scheduled to start the clinical trials of Sputnik V, Russia’s coronavirus vaccine, in October. Negotiations with Russia are still ongoing, with the Philippines’ vaccine expert panel seeking clarifications on the documents submitted by Moscow, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said Monday.

She also said discussions with other vaccine developers continue as the country seeks to source COVID-19 vaccines to fight Southeast Asia’s worst outbreak.

The number of coronavirus cases in the Philippines reached 245,143 as of Wednesday. — Gaea Katreena Cabico

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