Will WHO’s Solidarity Vaccine Trial in PH start soon?

Published July 26, 2021, 11:43 PM

by Charissa Luci-Atienza 

The World Health Organization’s (WHO) Solidarity Vaccine Trial (SVT) in the country is being targeted to be conducted by August 15, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) said Monday, July 26.

(Photo by Ali Vicoy/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 preparations were under way for the actual clinical trial.

“The target date is August 15 but we can only be sure once the permit is issued by FDA (Food and Drug Administration),” she told the Manila Bulletin in a Viber message.

Before it starts, the WHO’s SVT should first get the nod of the DOST’s vaccine expert panel (VEP), the Single Joint Research Ethics Review Board (SJREB) and the FDA.

During the Laging Handa public briefing on July 13, Guevara announced that Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Francisco Duque III and WHO Chief Scientist Dr. Soumya Swaminathan signed a letter of agreement for the conduct of SVT in the country.

When asked about the vaccine brands that will be used in the clinical trials, Guevara said, “We cannot disclose the identity of the vaccines until after the announcement by WHO.”

During his weekly report on July 16, DOST Secretary Fortunato “Boy” T. de la Peña said the investigator’s brochures on the four vaccine brands that will be used in the trials have already been under review by the VEP.

The WHO has already forwarded the standard operating protocols or SOPs for the SVT on July 5 and two days after, it provided the investigator’s brochures (IBs) for four vaccines that will be tested in the SVT.

The IB contains the non-clinical and clinical data relevant to the study.

Related story: https://mb.com.ph/2021/07/16/investigators-brochures-on-4-vaccine-brands-to-be-used-in-who-solidarity-trial-under-review-dost/

The WHO SVT team met on July 9 with the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) and mayors in the National Capital Region (NCR) to apprise them of the status of the SVT and to map out strategies for the smooth implementation of the vaccine trials.

In an interview with the Manila Bulletin, Guevara disclosed on July 10 that the actual rollout of the WHO SVT could be expected by the end of this month or early August.

During the virtual town hall meeting organized by the Civil Service Commission (CSC) on the “COVID-19 Vaccine Deployment” on March 17, DOST-Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD) Executive Director Dr. Jaime C. Montoya Montoya said 21 areas, mostly in Manila and Quezon City have been identified as sites for the SVT.

Based on the documents presented by Montoya, seven areas in Manila City and six areas in Quezon City have been identified as WHO SVT sites. Some areas in Pasay City, San Juan City, Paranaque City and Taguig City have also been selected as vaccine trial sites.