DOST bares more COVID-19 vaccine makers interested to hold trials in PH

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 25) — More international companies are coordinating with Philippine officials to hold clinical trials in the country for the COVID-19 vaccines they are developing, Department of Science and Technology Secretary Fortunato dela Peña said on Friday.

At least six companies from Russia, China, Australia, and Taipei have inked confidentiality data agreements with the Philippines, allowing experts to look at their research to determine if it's safe to be tested on Filipinos. However, only five of those are interested to conduct trials in the country, dela Peña said.

Russia's Sputnik V and China's Sinovac are interested to hold medical research and tap into locally manufacturing their vaccines in the Philippines. China's ZFSW is also looking to have Filipino volunteers try their product. The University of Queensland in Australia and Adimmune from Taipei, which are still both on Phase 1, also want to hold Phase 3 trials in the country.

"Because of their interest to do clinical trials in the Philippines, they are willing to show us their data and information on the results of their trials in their country," he said in a media forum.

Meanwhile, China's Sinopharm is only interested to supply its vaccine to the Philippines, the official said.

All applications for independent trials have to undergo evaluation by the DOST, ethics board, and the country's vaccine experts panel. If they pass the standards, companies need to obtain a regulatory certificate from the Food and Drug Administration.

The DOST chief said vaccines selected to be part of the World Health Organization's Solidarity Trial cannot conduct independent clinical trials in the country since the Philippines is already joining the global initiative.

Medical experts have said it's better to hold clinical trials in the country to find out if a vaccine is safe and effective for Filipinos as results may vary per ethnicity.