Galvez: 15,000 volunteers to join WHO vaccine trial

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 6) — The World Health Organization vaccine trial will enroll up to 15,000 volunteers in the country, the COVID-19 response chief implementer said Wednesday.

“Ang target po ay 15,000 from Metro Manila,” Secretary Carlito Galvez, Jr. said in a briefing.

[Translation: The target is 15,000 participants from Metro Manila.]

The WHO Solidarity trial may begin this month, officials said. This is the third attempt after the original target in October that was moved to December as WHO took caution in selecting potential vaccines.

Nina Gloriani, head of the Department of Science and Technology vaccine expert panel, earlier said two candidate vaccines may be tested for efficacy and safety. But “there are still certain issues with those two,” she said, refusing to disclose further until the list becomes official. 

Food and Drug Administration Director General Rolando Domingo said Wednesday the government is waiting for the WHO clinical trial application.

The government is spending over P89 million on the Solidarity trial for coronavirus vaccines. Meanwhile, independent clinical research will be shouldered by vaccine manufacturers.

Status of independent clinical trials

Janssen Pharmaceuticals Company of Johnson and Johnson may begin clinical trials for its COVID-19 vaccine by “next week,” Domingo said in a briefing. This will be the first independent COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial in the country. 

Clinical trial applications of Chinese companies Sinovac and Clover Biopharmaceutical are still under review, Domingo said.

“Mayroon na lamang silang dokumento pang kulang na hinihingi namin para ma-approve na sila,” he added.

[Translation: They just need to submit the documents we have asked of them to get regulatory approval.]