Three coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) vaccines are expected to hold clinical trials in the country either February or March, Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Secretary Fortunato de la Peña said Thursday.
During the Laging Handa public briefing, de la Peña said Clover, Janssen, and Sinovac already got approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to conduct the clinical trial for about a month.
“Our role is to help them (vaccine makers) identify the (clinical trial) sites,” he said, adding that he cannot announce the potential locations as part of the confidentiality agreement.
“We provided them with a list of possible sites. The LGUs (local government units) were also informed about this,” he said.
One requirement is that the sites should be those with high incidence of Covid-19 for the last two weeks before the start of clinical trial.
De la Peña said LGUs should not spend anything for the clinical trial as this should be shouldered by the vaccine companies.
“LGUs are in charge of identifying where to get the volunteers,” he said.
If any adverse effect would happen, de la Peña said the vaccine maker should also shoulder the insurance.
Meanwhile, de la Peña noted that the vaccine clinical trial is different from vaccine rollout since a clinical trial is still part of the vaccine’s Phase 3 testing.
“This (clinical trial) would add data about the efficacy of the vaccine,” he explained.
Clinical trials, he said, not only rely on the number of persons who participated, but also on different areas where these are held.
The Department of Health (DOH) and the National Task Force Against Covid-19 are in charge of the vaccine rollout, de la Peña added.
The DOST chief mentioned that the Bureau of Customs (BOC) already committed to hasten the release of the vaccines once they arrive in the country.
“It is important that vaccines would reach the trial sites immediately. The sites have a storage facility,” he said.
Town hall meetings were held last Jan. 29, Feb. 1 and 2 via Zoom to raise awareness about the clinical trials and answer queries. These online meetings were attended by healthcare professionals and LGU officials of potential sites.
The DOST chief also mentioned that there is no schedule yet for World Health Organization (WHO) Solidarity Vaccine Trial for Covid-19.
“A meeting is set on Friday and hopefully there is definite news,” he said. (Ruth Abbey Gita-Carlos/PNA)