Chinese biopharm firm among PH's collaborators to develop COVID-19 vaccine

By Genalyn Kabiling

A Chinese biopharmaceutical company will be among the "potential collaborators" in the country's research and development for a coronavirus vaccine.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque (OPS / MANILA BULLETIN) Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque (OPS / MANILA BULLETIN)

According to Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) has approved the inclusion of Sinovac Biotech Ltd. to the list of organizations that will collaborate with the government in the COVID-19 vaccine development and clinical trials.

The involvement of Sinovac, contained in IATF Resolution No. 44, was made upon the recommendation of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST).

Last month, the inter-agency task force approved the DOST's recommendations on the country's participation in the clinical trials for COVID-19 vaccines.

The department earlier proposed the country's collaboration with four institutions -- Adimmune Corporation, Academia Sinica, Chinese Academy of Science-Guangzhou Institute of Biomedicine and Health, and SinoPharm–Wuhan Institute of Biological Products -- and the Beijing Institute of Technology in the development of a potential coronavirus vaccine.

President Duterte earlier expressed his optimism about the country's involvement in the clinical trials for a coronavirus vaccine in the last quarter of 2020 in the hope it will save more lives.

"The President wants to save the life of each and every Filipino and thus places great interest in these clinical trials," Roque said late last month.

Roque said the DOST has been tasked to provide the country's collaborating organizations with the Department of Health, World Health Organization, and Food and Drug Administration Philippines guidelines on vaccine clinical trials.

The department must also identify the sites, the local institutions, and the Filipino researchers who will be involved in the collaborative trials; assist local participating institutions in their proposals and budgets, obtain ethics board approvals, as well as formalize the agreements.