DOST keen on starting WHO Solidarity Trials
“WHO has not yet given the vaccines to be in their clinical trial,” Science Secretary Fortunato dela Peña told The STAR yesterday.
STAR/ File

DOST keen on starting WHO Solidarity Trials

Rainier Allan Ronda (The Philippine Star) - January 9, 2021 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) is keen on immediately starting local clinical trials for candidate COVID vaccines under the World Health Organization Solidarity Trials, but there has been no word yet from the WHO.

“WHO has not yet given the vaccines to be in their clinical trial,” Science Secretary Fortunato dela Peña told The STAR yesterday.

He expressed hope the DOST could start the clinical trials soon, since the Phiippines is all set for it.

He said the University of the Philippines-Philippine General Hospital (UP-PGH) has already been tapped to do the identification and recruitment of volunteers who will join the WHO Solidarity Trials.

Dela Peña said that the UP-PGH project team will be led by Dr. Jodor Lim.

However, the DOST chief said they are also still waiting for even preliminary information or details on the clinical trials from the WHO.

“We are awaiting the WHO announcement on the numbers,” he said

DOST Undersecretary for research and development Rowena Cristina Guevara was quoted by GMA News as saying that it was already forging ahead with a search for 15,000 participants for the WHO Solidarity Trials.

She said they are preparing to start by the end of January or in February.

Guevara said that the number of target participants was increased from the initial 4,000 to 15,000 in order to align with the WHO’s goal of conducting “rapid, community-based enrollment in hotspot areas.”

“The WHO Solidarity Trial will be conducted here in the National Capital Region. What we ask is for participants and volunteers among our citizens in the place where the WHO Solidarity Trial will be conducted. This is not an immunization but a clinical trial,” she said.

The recruitment and registration of participants will be at the local level in barangays which will be chosen as trial sites.

Guevara gave assurance that a data and safety monitoring committee would ensure that the 15,000 participants will be monitored for any adverse reactions.

The WHO has yet to identify which brand of COVID-19 vaccine would be used. The DOST is still waiting for the release of protocol for the trial, she added.

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