DOST to meet with WHO to tackle Solidarity Vaccine Trials protocols

Published February 4, 2021, 1:10 PM

by Charissa Luci-Atienza 

The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) as Chair of the Task Group on Vaccine Evaluation and Selection (TG-VES) is set to meet on Friday with the World Health Organization (WHO) to discuss the upcoming conduct of the WHO Solidarity Vaccine Trials (SVT) in the country.

(Photo by Owen Humphreys / POOL / AFP)

DOST Secretary Fortunato dela Peña bared this during the televised “Laging Handa” briefing held on Thursday, Feb. 4.

He said they are hopeful that the WHO will finally issue the final Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) and specific protocols on the conduct of the SVT in the country

“‘Yun ang hindi ko pa malaman kung kailan talaga, pero mayroon kaming meeting sa Friday with WHO at hopefully ay meron ng more definite news tayong makukuha sa Friday (That’s what I still don’t know when exactly, but we have a meeting on Friday with WHO and hopefully, we can get more definite news there on Friday),” he said when asked about the timeline on the issuance of guidelines for the vaccine trials.

In an interview with the Manila Bulletin on Tuesday late afternoon, DOST Undersecretary Rowena Cristina Guevara, who leads the TG-VES, bared that the WHO is set to release to the Philippine government the final SOPs and specific protocols on the SVT in the country “in two weeks’ time.”

She said the WHO explained to them that the issuance of the SOPs and protocols for the clinical trials has been delayed following the detection of two new variants of coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19)—that of the United Kingdom and South Africa.

Guevara said because of the presence of the UK and South Africa COVID-19 variants, the WHO “had to figure out how to understate the protocol.”

According to her, most of the clinical trials “are going to happen” in the National Capital Region (NCR), Davao Cebu, and Cavite and in CALABARZON.

Dela Peña noted that while awaiting the final SOPs and specific protocol, the Philippines’ WHO SVT team already started the lecture training about the protection, safety and well-being of the participants as well as how adverse events should be recorded and reported during the vaccine clinical trials.

Three town-hall meetings were conducted on Jan. 29, Feb.1 and 2 to inform the local government units (LGUs) and the healthcare workers about their role in the vaccine trials.