The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) said on Saturday, July 10, that the actual rollout of the the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Solidarity Vaccine Trial (SVT), and the Philippines’ study on the safety and efficacy of mixing and matching five coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccines could be expected by end of this month or early August.
DOST Undersecretary for Research and Development Rowena Cristina L. Guevara, who chairs the Task Group on Vaccine Evaluation and Selection (TG-VES), said both the WHO and the proponents from the Philippine Society for Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (PSAAI), led by Dr. Michelle De Vera were “in the same stage” of securing permits from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Philippine Health Research Ethics Board (PHREB), and Vaccine Expert Panel (VEP), chaired by Dr. Nina Gloriani.
“For WHO SVT, they have already submitted application for permit to conduct clinical trial with FDA, ethics board and Vaccine Expert Panel. Mix and Match is also in the same stage as SVT,” she told the Manila Bulletin in a VIber message.
“In a way, they have already started since these permits are part of the project. The vaccination will start once the permits are granted, perhaps towards end of month or early August,” she added.
DOST Secretary Fortunato “Boy” T. de la Peña announced on DOSTv Facebook page on June 18 that the final protocol for the WHO’s SVT is expected to be finalized.
He said the WHO headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland 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 WHO’s SVT has a project duration of 18 months and is funded by the Philippine government through DOST and DOST.
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.
Meanwhile, the DOST was expecting the PSAAI to conduct its study on the safety and efficacy of mixing and matching of COVID-19 vaccines this month.
Guevara had disclosed that five vaccine brands will be used for the PSAAI study, which was initially targeted to start by June this year. These are Sinovac, Sputnik V, AstraZeneca, Pfizer and Moderna.
She said the clinical trial, which will be conducted for 18 months, will involve 3,000 participants aged 18 and above.
Guevara said the participants will come from Ai to A4 priority groups under the country’s inoculation program amid fears that such study will affect the country’s vaccine supply.
She said the study will look into the efficacy of the booster doses, apart from determining the safety and immunogenicity of interchanging vaccine brands to complete COVID-19 vaccine series.
The DOST official said the study aims to determine if the high-risk population who already completed the dosing regimen of the Sinovac vaccine would elicit a better immune response after the immunization of a booster dose from a different vaccine platform or brand.