WHO COVID-19 vaccine trial seen to start in December
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 COVID-19 vaccine trial seen to start in December
Gaea Katreena Cabico (Philstar.com) - October 26, 2020 - 12:42pm

MANILA, Philippines Updated 6:24 p.m.) — The clinical trial of candidate vaccines against coronavirus disease led by the World Health Organization will start in December, the Department of Health said Monday.

The vaccine clinical trial was initially scheduled to begin in the country by end-October.

“WHO has announced they would start the trials by December 2020. By November, they will begin in one site and then the different clinical trials in other countries including the Philippines will follow by December of 2020,” DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said in a briefing. 

More details including the trial sites will be announced within the week, she added. Government officials earlier said that areas with high level of COVID-19 transmission would be identified as trial sites.

The country has allocated P89 million for the WHO-led vaccine trial.

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

Delay

Department of Science and Technology Secretary Fortunato de la Peña said he was “disappointed” that the start of the WHO-led solidarity trial for COVID-19 vaccines will be delayed in the country.

“I was rather disappointed when I saw the news that the pilot for the WHO trial will be in the Americas and the trial here will have to be moved to December because we were expecting that when it is already announced, then we can already proceed maybe in a few weeks time with WHO trial here,” de la Peña said in a forum organized by the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines.

“But anyway, we also have the independent trials that are already in relatively advanced stage of evaluation,” he added.

The vaccine candidate of Chinese drug maker Sinovac Biotech hurdled the initial stage of screening for clinical trials in the country. It is still undergoing the evaluation of the Single Joint Ethics Research Board.

The Philippines is also assessing the application of Russian firm Gamaleya Research Institute and American company Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen to conduct Phase 3 clinical trials in the country.

The DOST chief also said that Australian biotechnology company Vaxine Pty Ltd has expressed interest in conducting a clinical trial of its candidate vaccine in the country.

According to WHO's latest draft landscape of COVID-19 vaccines, there are 44 candidate vaccines in clinical evaluation. Of the figure, 10 are currently in Phase 3 clinical trials.

Treatments

Vergeire also said that interferon had been removed from WHO’s trial on COVID-19 treatments after it was found that the drug “did not reduce the mortality among COVID-19 patients.”

Meanwhile, the use of remdesivir will continue because the United Nations health agency wants to gather more data to support initial findings on the antiviral drug, she added.

The Solidarity Trial published interim results on October 15 found that remdesivir along with hydroxychloroquine, lopinavir/ritonavir and interferon had “little or no effect” on overall mortality for patients hospitalized with COVID-19.

Last week, the US Food and Drug Administration granted full approval to remdesivir as treatment for hospitalized COVID-19 patients.

The Philippines' COVID-19 caseload reached 371,630 Monday, with 7,039 deaths.

COVID-19 VACCINES NOVEL CORONAVIRUS
As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: November 23, 2020 - 5:20pm

Pharma giants Sanofi and GSK said on July 29, 2020, that they have agreed to supply Britain with up to 60 million doses of a potential COVID-19 vaccine. The agreement covers a vaccine candidate developed by France's Sanofi in partnership with the UK's GSK and is subject to a "final contract."

This thread collects some of the major developments in the search for a vaccine to ease the new coronavirus pandemic. (Main photo by AFP/Joel Saget)

November 23, 2020 - 5:20pm

European stock markets opened firmer Monday, buoyed as positive news on another coronavirus vaccine trial helped offset concerns over soaring case numbers, dealers said.

In London, the FTSE 100 index of leading shares was up 0.5 percent at 6,382.36 points.

In the Eurozone, the Paris CAC 40 gained nearly one percent to 5,543.83 points and the Frankfurt DAX put on 0.6 percent to 13,219.25 points.

Shortly before the markets opened, British drugs group AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford said their jointly-developed vaccine against COVID-19 has shown "an average efficacy of 70 percent" in trials, and up to 90 percent in one dosage combination. — AFP

November 23, 2020 - 10:34am

The United States hopes to begin coronavirus vaccinations in early December, a top government health official said Sunday, the latest positive news to emerge even as cases surge across the worst-hit nation and elsewhere around the globe.

The beginning of vaccinations could be a crucial shift in the battle against a virus that has claimed more than 1.4 million lives worldwide, including 255,000 just in the US, since emerging from China late last year.

Encouraging results from vaccine trials have bolstered hopes for an end to the pandemic, as nations reimpose restrictions and lockdowns that slowed the spread earlier this year but turned lives and economies upside down across the globe. — AFP

November 19, 2020 - 8:31pm

A leading COVID-19 vaccine candidate has shown to safely produce a robust immune response in healthy older adults, its British makers said Thursday as it released its phase 2 trial results.

The vaccine, developed by the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca, produced fewer side effects in people aged 56 and over than in younger people — a significant finding given that COVID-19 disproportionately causes severe illness among seniors. 

The manufacturers said the vaccine was undergoing larger, more comprehensive phase 3 trials to confirm the results. — AFP

November 18, 2020 - 8:34pm

The biotech company Pfizer says Wednesday that a completed study of its experimental COVID-19 vaccine showed it is 95% effective.

Pfizer says the vaccine had no serious side effects and that the company will apply for emergency use authorization from US regulators within a matter of days.

"The study results mark an important step in this historic eight-month journey to bring forward a vaccine capable of helping to end this devastating pandemic," says Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla. — AFP

November 18, 2020 - 9:34am

Pfizer is "very close" to applying for an emergency use approval for its COVID-19 vaccine after collecting safety data to submit to US regulators, the company's CEO said Tuesday, according to a report. 

The pharmaceutical giant announced last week preliminary results from a late-stage clinical trial showing the injections it had co-developed with Germany's BioNTech was more than 90 percent effective after the second dose.

"We are very close to submitting for an emergency use authorization," Albert Bourla says. "We will announce it as soon as we are doing it." 

— AFP

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