DOST: China's Sinopharm no longer interested in conducting vaccine trial in Philippines
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
DOST: China's Sinopharm no longer interested in conducting vaccine trial in Philippines
(Philstar.com) - October 16, 2020 - 3:47pm

MANILA, Philippines — Chinese pharmaceutical firm Sinopharm is no longer planning to conduct a late-stage clinical trial of its coronavirus vaccine candidate in the Philippines, the Department of Science and Technology said Friday.

Sinopharm’s COVID-19 vaccine is one of the candidate vaccines in the final phases of clinical trials.

“Sinopharm has made a change of mind. Before, they said they want to provide a supply of vaccines as well as to get involved in Phase 3 clinical trial in the Philippines,” DOST Secretary Fortunato de la Peña said in a briefing.

“Later on, they communicated to us that they are still interested in the supply side but they’re no longer going to conduct Phase 3 clinical trial,” he added.

Meanwhile, the COVID-19 vaccine candidate of Chinese firm Sinovac Biotech has hurdled the initial stage of screening for clinical trials in the country.

Sinovac passed the review of the vaccine experts panel chaired by the DOST. It is still undergoing the evaluation of the Single Joint Ethics Research Board.

“These two are requirements before the sub-technical working group will forward this to Food and Drug Administration for final action on approval for clinical trials,” De la Peña said.

Once Sinovac obtains an approval from the FDA, the implementation of the trial for its candidate vaccine will be facilitated by a Philippine-based research organization.

FDA Director General Eric Domingo said Thursday that clinical trials, including the World Health Organization's solidarity trials, in the country may start before the year ends.

Russian vaccine

The Philippines is also assessing the application of Russian firm Gamaleya Research Institute to conduct Phase 3 clinical trial in the country.

De la Peña said Gamaleya still needs to submit “lacking requirements” to Philippine authorities.

“Bigger bulk of the data has already been submitted. There are still certain portions we are waiting for,” he said.

The DOST chief added that Gamaleya is currently selecting a local contract research organization that will work with them on completing the remaining requirements for submission.

American company Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen also signified intention to hold a trial in the Philippines.

The country is in talks with 17 companies from seven countries as it seeks to source a vaccine that will help end one of Southeast Asia’s worst outbreaks.

The Philippines' COVID-19 caseload reached 348,698 Thursday, with 6,497 deaths. — Gaea Katreena Cabico

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