Preparations are now underway for the Philippines’ conduct of a study on the safety and efficacy of mixing and matching five coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccines, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) said Thursday, Aug. 12.
DOST Undersecretary for Research and Development Rowena Cristina L. Guevara, who heads the Task Group on Vaccine Evaluation and Selection (TG-VES), maintained that the Philippine Society for Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology’s (PSAAI) study on the safety and immunogenicity of interchanging vaccine brands is set to start within this month.
“There are ongoing preparations for the mix and match project which is targeted to start this month,” she told the Manila Bulletin in a Viber message on Thursday.
She said the PSAAI project team, led by Dr. Michelle De Vera is currently coordinating with the Department of Health (DOH) “regarding the study site needs and project endorsement to the LGUs (local government units), along with the vaccine doses needed for the study.”
The DOST had bared that study will be conducted in eight proposed sites: Antipolo or Marikina City, Manila, Pasig City, Makati or Pasay City, Muntinlupa City, Quezon City, Cebu and Davao.
“In addition, the protocol has been submitted to the SJREB (Single Joint Research Ethics Board) for ethics approval, while submission to site IRBs (Institutional Review Boards) is ongoing,” Guevara said.
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.
The clinical trial will be conducted for 18 months and will involve 3,000 participants aged 18 and above.
The participants will come from A1 to A4 priority groups under the country’s inoculation program amid fears that such study will affect the country’s vaccine supply.
“The project team is also contacting laboratories or suppliers for the immunogenicity assays,” Guevara said.
“Furthermore, they are also in communication with an insurance group that will cover the health insurance of all of the trial participants,” she added.
The PISAAI 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.
It 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.