DOST: ’Final’ schedule of WHO’s solidarity vaccine trials in PH, COVID-19 jabs to be used to be known next week

Published June 11, 2021, 11:06 PM

by Charissa Luci-Atienza 

The World Health Organization (WHO) is expected to relay to the Philippines the final schedule of its solidarity vaccine trials next week as well as the brands of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccines that will be used in the study.

This handout picture taken on August 6, 2020 and provided by the Russian Direct Investment Fund shows the vaccine against the coronavirus disease, developed by the Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology. (Photo by Handout / Russian Direct Investment Fund / AFP / MANILA BULLETIN)

This was disclosed by DOST Undersecretary for Research and Development Rowena Cristina L. Guevara, who chairs the Task Group on Vaccine Evaluation and Selection (TG-VES) to the Manila Bulletin.

“We will have final dates and vaccine brands next week,” she said in a Viber message to the Manila Bulletin on Friday night.

She said the WHO’s Solidarity Vaccine Trial (SVT) which has a project duration of 18 months will “likely” begin in July.

“The clinical trial proper will most likely start next month,” Guevara said.

When asked if the brands of the COVID-19 vaccines that will be used in SVT are those included in the Emergency Use Listing (EUL), Guevara said, “We don’t know yet the brands of the vaccines in the WHO SVT.”

On June 1, the WHO said the COVID-19 vaccine made by China’s Sinovac Biotech was validated for emergency use because it met “international standards for safety, efficacy and manufacturing.”

In May, the WHO also included the United States-made Moderna’s jab in its list of vaccines for emergency use to prevent COVID-19 in individuals 18 years of age and older.

It previously issued EUL to vaccines of Pfizer BioNTech, AstraZeneca, Serum Institute of India, and Janssen.

The WHO Solidarity Trial is funded by the Philippine government through DOST and Department of Health (DOH).

The DOST has been waiting for the final Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) and specific protocols for the conduct of the SVT in the country since January this year.

Guevara had cited the importance of WHO’s conduct of its clinical trials in the country “since we are still looking for vaccines that will be affordable, accessible and available, and even better than those that have received EUA (emergency use authorization), so far.”

In an interview on Feb. 2, Guevara noted that WHO’s issuance of the SOPs and protocols for the clinical trials has been delayed following the detection of the United Kingdom and South African variants of COVID-19.

Guevara said because of the presence of the two new COVID-19 variants, the WHO “had to figure out how to understate the protocol.”