P89.1 M OK’d for PH’s participation in WHO’s COVID-19 vaccine trials

Published August 29, 2020, 8:09 AM

by Dhel Nazario

A P89.1 million budget for the country’s participation in the World Health Organization’s (WHO) global Solidarity Vaccine Trial for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has been approved by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST).

(Joe Raedle/Getty Images/AFP / MANILA BULLETIN)

During his weekly report on Friday, DOST Secretary Fortunato dela Pena said that they are now just waiting for the announcement of the WHO which vaccines will be used in the Solidarity Trials.

“Of course it will be the ones that are in the advanced stage of development,” he said in Filipino.

To be led by the University of the Philippines-Philippine General Hospital (UP-PGH), the main objective of the trial is to evaluate the efficacy of a two-dose regimen of SARS-CoV-2 candidate vaccine against RT-PCR confirmed symptomatic COVID-19 cases.

DOST said this initiative is considered the best short-term strategy that the country could adopt to make the COVID-19 vaccine available in the Philippines at the soonest time possible. It will allow the country to avail of COVID-19 vaccine candidates which are already in the later or more advanced stages of vaccine development.

The project will also build on the local expertise already available for clinical trials and contribute in capacity building, upgrading of facilities and resources required for vaccine development and manufacturing in the country.

“Kung kukulangin naman itong P89.1 million, kung sakaling mas maraming vaccines ang papasubukan ay makakagawa naman kami ng paraan (If this P89,1 million budget will not be enough, in case more vaccines will be tested, we can still find a way to look for funds),” Dela Pena said.

In a related development, the WHO confirmed the DOST’s nomination of Dr. Nina Gloriani, former dean of the UP College of Public Health of UP- NIH, as member of the Scientific Steering Committee for the WHO COVID-19 Solidarity Vaccine Trials. As a member of the Committee, Dr. Gloriani will participate in providing recommendations on the direction of the WHO vaccine trials.