P89.1 million earmarked for WHO solidarity vaccine trials

P89.1 million earmarked for WHO solidarity vaccine trials
A Sinovac Biotech LTD vaccine candidate for COVID-19 coronavirus is on display at the China International Fair for Trade in Services (CIFTIS) in Beijing on September 6, 2020.
AFP / Noel Celis

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines allocated P89.1 million for the conduct of the World Health Organization’s solidarity trial for candidate vaccines against the coronavirus disease, the Department of Health said Wednesday.

“When we say we have budget for vaccines, this is for the operational expenses for our trials that we will do. The vaccines will be given to us by the WHO in partnership with the manufacturers,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said in a mix of English and Filipino.

The vaccine solidarity trial in the Philippines was scheduled to begin on the third week of October. The study is expected to last for 18 months.

The Philippine General Hospital is the project’s implementing agency.

There are currently 34 candidate vaccines that are being considered by the WHO for the solidarity trial. Phase 3 clinical trial—or large-scale human trial—is the last step before regulatory approvals.

Vergeire said the government is in talks with 12 vaccine developers on the WHO list, which are the following:

  • Oxford Astra-Zenica AZD 1222
  • Gamaleya Research Institute
  • Sinovac inactivated vaccine
  • Sinopharm Wuhan inactivated vaccine
  • Sinopharm Beijing inactivated vaccine
  • BioNtech/Fosun Pharma/Pfizer 3 LNP-mRNA-based vaccine
  • Moderna/NAID encapsulated mRNA-based vaccine
  • Anhui Zhifei-CAS-Protein subunit
  • Osaka University/Anges/Takara DNA-plasmid+adjuvant
  • Bharat Biotech-inactivated vaccine
  • University of Queensland/CSL/Seqirus-protein subunit
  • FBRI SRC VB vector-protein subunit

According to Resolution 68 of the government’s inter-agency task force on COVID-19, the WHO solidarity vaccine trial will be prioritized in the assignment of trial zones.

It also said that vaccine recipients under the solidarity trial will be recruited from barangays with highest COVID-19 cases.

The number of coronavirus cases in the Philippines reached 269,407 with 4,663 deaths as of Thursday. — Gaea Katreena Cabico

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