The final protocol for the World Health Organization’s (WHO) solidarity vaccine trials is expected to be finalized this weekend, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) said Friday, June 18.
DOST Secretary Fortunato “Boy” T. de la Peña said the WHO headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland has already forwarded the letter of agreement on June 11 “for review” of the Department of Health (DOH), DOST, and the Philippine Solidarity Vaccine Trial team.
“The final protocol will be finalized until the weekend as WHO was able to sign an additional agreement with a third vaccine developer,” he said during his weekly report on Friday, June 18.
He also noted that the “fund transfer of WHO counterpart to UP (University of the Philippines) Manila is expected to be completed next week.”
In a Viber message to the Manila Bulletin, DOST Undersecretary for Research and Development Rowena Cristina L. Guevara, who chairs the Task Group on Vaccine Evaluation and Selection (TG-VES), said the final schedule of the WHO’s Solidarity Vaccine Trial (SVT) has yet to be determined.
“We are in the process of signing the letter of agreement with WHO, applying for FDA (Food and Drug Administration) permit and ethics review board clearance, so we cannot give the exact date of start,” she said.
Guevara had disclosed that the WHO will likely relay to them the final schedule of its solidarity vaccine trials this week as well as the brands of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccines that will be used in the study.
When asked if the list of the trial sites is now available, Guevara said it is “still being conferred with the DOH Epidemiology Bureau.”
The DOST expects that the WHO’s SVT which has a project duration of 18 months and is funded by the Philippine government through DOST and Department of Health (DOH), will “likely” begin in July.
The department 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.