WHO hopes Philippines can provide more participants for COVID-19 vaccine trial
(FILES) In this file photo Dr. Nita Patel, Director of Antibody discovery and Vaccine development, lifts a vial with a potential coronavirus, Covid-19, vaccine at Novavax labs in Gaithersburg, Maryland on March 20, 2020, one of the labs developing a vaccine for the coronavirus, COVID-19.
AFP/Andrew Caballero-Reynolds
WHO hopes Philippines can provide more participants for COVID-19 vaccine trial
Gaea Katreena Cabico (Philstar.com) - October 12, 2020 - 3:51pm

MANILA, Philippines — The World Health Organization is hoping that the Philippines will increase the number of its participants for a multinational clinical trial of candidate vaccines against coronavirus disease.

The Philippines is currently looking at between 2,000 and 3,000 volunteer participants for the WHO vaccine solidarity trial, WHO country representative Rabindra Abeyasinghe said in a Laging Handa briefing Monday.

“WHO was hoping there will be up to 4,000 participants from the Philippines,” Abeyasinghe said.

“We are hoping that number [of participants] could be increased because the larger the number of people in the trial, the sooner we could get evidence of efficacy, safety,” he added.

Vaccine recipients under the solidarity trial will be people aged 18 to 60 years old. Excluded from the trials are those with comorbidities and pregnant women.

Abeyasinghe said the WHO-led vaccine clinical trial is scheduled to begin by end-October.

“We are still hoping the solidarity vaccine trials which are Phase 3 clinical trials could hopefully commence by the end of October,” he said.

Ten trial sites—nine in outbreak epicenter Metro Manila and one in Cebu—had been identified. These are the areas with high level of COVID-19 transmission.

While there has been a decline in transmission in Metro Manila and Cebu, the current levels of transmission are still “adequate” to trial the vaccines, the WHO country representative said.

The government has allocated P89 million for the WHO vaccine solidarity trial.

The Philippines has so far recorded 339,341 COVID-19 cases, including 6,321 deaths.

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