Three COVID-19 clinical trials may begin in December – DOST

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 27) — Three clinical trials for COVID-19 vaccines may begin in December, an official from the Department of Science and Technology said on Friday.

Dr. Jaime Montoya, executive director of the DOST-Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (DOST-PCHRD), said Chinese vaccine maker Clover Biopharmaceutical passed the review of the DOST vaccine experts panel to hold its phase 3 trials. Another Chinese firm Sinovac hurdled the same panel in October.

Their applications have been forwarded to the ethics board for minor reviews. After this stage, the drug maker has to get final approval from the Food and Drug Administration.

"We expect na kung dire-diretso po ang Sinovac at ang Clover, we foresee na baka magsimula at the earliest ng clinical trial ay late December to early January," Montoya said in a media forum.

[Translation: If the review for Sinovac and Clover goes smoothly, we foresee that the clinical trial may begin by late December at the earliest to early January.]

The trial application of Russia's Gamaleya, US' Janssen Pharmaceutical, and UK' AstraZeneca are still under review.

Meanwhile, the World Health Organization's Solidarity Trial is scheduled to begin in December.

Montoya named 12 hospitals nationwide that will participate in the international study. They are as follows:

- Philippine General Hospital (lead

implementor)

- Manila Doctors Hospital

- San Lazaro Hospital

- Lung Center of the Philippines

- St. Luke's Medical Center Quezon City

- Research Institute for Tropical Medicine

- Makati Medical Center

- The Medical City

- St. Luke's Medical Center BGC

- Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center

- De La Salle Health Sciences Institute

- Southern Philippines Medical Center

The DOST official said the P89.1-million budget allocated for the program will be distributed to the hospitals for trial expenses, storage, purchase of other

supplies, and monitoring of participants.

Participants will be recruited from the top five to ten barangay reporting high COVID-19 cases. WHO has yet to release the final clinical trial protocol and the list of vaccines that will be reviewed.