IATF sets guidelines for holding COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials in PH

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 7) — The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases has laid down rules in the conduct of clinical trials for coronavirus vaccines, releasing a resolution on Monday that gives priority to the test spearheaded by the World Health Organization.

Department of Science and Technology Secretary Fortunato dela Peña explained that WHO's Solidarity Trial, which Philippines is a part of, should be prioritized over independent trials conducted by private vaccine manufacturers if there is a "competition" for participants.

The recipient of the vaccines in WHO's large-scale trial will be recruited from the top 5-10 barangays with the most number of COVID-19 cases in the country, according to IATF's Resolution Resolution No. 68.

The households that will join will be randomly picked. Only permanent residents will be allowed to participate, unless the person can show proof they will be living in the area for two years. In case of shortage of participants, officials can ask residents from neighboring areas to join.

The Department of Health's Epidemiology Bureau is tasked to manage the data of all trial participants and monitor their condition.

The Philippines is in talks with Russia for its "Sputnik V" vaccine and 16 other firms to hold a coronavirus clinical trial in the country. The Philippines' panel of vaccine experts is still reviewing documents from the Russian manufacturer before turning over their recommendation to the Food and Drug Administration, which will give the final approval to hold the Phase 3 trial in the country.

The DOST Chief also said the IATF approved the creation of a sub-technical working group to solely focus on the procurement of COVID-19 vaccines. He said this will be led by the Department of Budget and Management-Procurement Service. The Departments of Health, Finance, Budget and Management, Foreign Affairs, Trade and Industry, Interior, Philippine International Trading Corporation, and National Economic Development Authority will serve as members.

The DOH is tasked to decide which vaccine and how many doses should be procured, the IATF said.