Around 3,000 Filipino adults are expected to participate in a local study on the safety and efficacy of mixing and matching China’s Sinovac vaccine with other coronavirus disease (COVID-19) jabs, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) has disclosed.
DOST Secretary Fortunato T. de la Peña said the proponents from the Philippine Society for Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (PSAAI) have proposed eight study sites, “but they still have to coordinate with the local government units.”
“Three thousand participants,” he said in an interview with CNN Philippines on Tuesday evening, May 25, when asked about the number of participants who will be involved in the COVID-19 jabs mix-and-match study.
He said of the proposed study sites, six are in Metro Manila and in Rizal, while the other two are in Visayas and Mindanao.
In a Facebook post early this week, De la Peña disclosed the eight proposed sites for the PSAAI’s study that will be conducted for a period of 18 months starting in June this year.
These are Antipolo or Marikina City, Manila, Pasig City, Makati or Pasay City, Muntinlupa City, Quezon City, Cebu and Davao.
“In general, what they are saying, it might even be better to have a mixture of vaccines, but that is what we have to find out,” the DOST chief said.
He maintained that before the study commences, it has to be approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Philippine Health Research Ethics Board (PHREB).
“Any conduct of this trial will still be in the hands of FDA,” de la Peña said. “I don’t know whether they (PSAAI) have already submitted the necessary documents.”
During his weekly report on Friday, May 21, de la Peña announced that the study will be conducted by the PSAAI, led by Dr. Michelle De Vera.
The study is expected to “evaluate the safety and immunogenicity of mixing different COVID-19 vaccines and vaccine platforms in Filipino adults.”
Based on the report provided by de la Peña, the government has allocated P133 million to support the study.
“To carry out the aims of the study, the safety and immunogenicity of completing the vaccination series from the available COVID-19 vaccines in the Philippines will be evaluated for those given Sinovac as the first dose,” the DOST chief said.
“Combinations of Sinovac vaccine with other vaccine brand will be the main aim of the study due to it being the most stable vaccine supply in the country.”
The FDA has so far issued emergency use authorization (EUA) to COVID-19 vaccine developed by American drug firm Moderna, American drugmaker Pfizer, United Kingdom-based AstraZeneca, China’s Sinovac, Russia’s Gamaleya Research Institute, India’s Bharat Biotech, and US-based firm Johnson & Johnson.
De la Peña said the data that will be derived from the population from the eight study sites “will further clarify the unknowns related to COVID-19 and the COVID-19 vaccines.”
“Local clinical data to be generated from the Filipino people on the interchanging of available COVID-19 vaccines in the Philippines can serve as the basis for guidelines/policies and what vaccines/vaccine platforms can be mixed, which may be applied by the Department of Health (DOH) for an EUA.”