COVID-19 vaccine trials may start in October – DOST

Clinical trials for vaccines against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) could take place in the country starting October, Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Secretary Fortunato dela Peña said Friday.

Department of Science and Technology Secretary Fortunato dela Peña (TOTO LOZANO/ Presidential Photo / MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

“Ang mga trials siguro magsisimula ay gawing Oktubre pa at ang tapos niyan mga around six months pa (Trials could start this October and it will be finished after six months),” said dela Pena during his weekly Facebook briefing citing estimates made by DOST's panel of experts.

“Sabihin na nating pinaka-maaga meron tayo vaccine either May, June or July next year (We could expect the vaccine to be available May, June or July next year),” he added.

Dela Pena said the DOST panel of experts have already identified three hospitals where the clinical trials will be made, namely, the Philippine General Hospital, Research Institute for Tropical Medicine, and Manila Doctors Hospital.

“Yung ibang gustong sumali ay makiki-affiliate na lang diyan sa mga hospital na yan (Hospitals that want to participate will have to affiliate with one of these institutions),” the DOST chief advised.

Dela Pena said the panel, which also analyzes the safety considerations of the trials, are at the moment identifying “trialists” or experts who will conduct the trials.

So far, the secretary said the Philippines has reached an agreement with Russia for the conduct of clinical trials of the Russian-made Sputnik V vaccine.

Aside from Russia, he said the governments of China, Taiwan and the United States have also reached out to them for the conduct of clinical trials for their respective COVID-19 vaccines.

The secretary said the World Health Organization (WHO) will also be conducting solidarity trials for vaccines.

“Doon sa WHO solidarity trial, naghihintay pa tayo kung alin yung final list ng mga vaccines na isasama ng WHO at tiwala tayo doon kaasi nga talagang maraming bansa ang nag-i-screen collectively (In the WHO solidarity trial, we are still waiting for the final list of vaccines and we are confident in that because there are many countries which will be screening said vaccines collectively),” he said.