Malacañang expects coronavirus vaccine trials by Q4

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 24) — The Philippines is expected to take part in the clinical trials for coronavirus vaccine by the last quarter of the year, said Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque on Sunday.

The government earlier approved the country's participation in the vaccine trials, with the Department of Science and Technology leading the sub-technical working group responsible for coordinating with the Department of Health, World Health Organization, and Food and Drug Administration on related matters.

According to Roque, the DOST-led group has been tasked to provide guidelines on vaccine clinical trials, identify the sites as well as the local institutions and Filipino researchers who will be involved, and assist local participating institutions in their proposals and budgets, among other things.

Roque also said President Rodrigo Duterte will review the recommendations of the DOST to establish the Virology Science and Technology Institute, and reactivate the Pharmaceutical Development Unit at the DOST-Industrial Technology Development Institute.

The two research centers "can initiate and strengthen local vaccine development,” according to the IATF, which already approved the recommendations on Friday.

READ: Task force approves PH participation in clinical trials for COVID-19 vaccine

The task force added that the Philippines will be collaborating with the Chinese Academy of Sciences, China National Pharmaceutical Group or Sinopharm, as well as Taiwan's Adimmune Corporation and Academia Sinica.

Nations across the world are conducting their own clinical trials to find a vaccine for the viral illness, which so far has infected over 5.3 million people and killed some 340,000 globally. The World Health Organization said that a vaccine for COVID-19 may be available in 18 months.

The Philippines is also part of the WHO's solidarity trial, a global effort to find a cure for the viral illness.

READ: At least 150 Filipinos take part in WHO's 'solidarity trial' as recruitment continues