There is no definite schedule yet as to when the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Solidarity Vaccine Trial (SVT) will start, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) said.
DOST Undersecretary for Research and Development (R&D) Dr. Rowena Cristina L. Guevara, who heads the Task Group on Vaccine Evaluation and Selection (TG-VES), said they are waiting for the WHO’s final word as far as the final schedule of the SVT is concerned.
“No exact date yet. We are just waiting for WHO Headquarter to give the date. The WHO STV (Solidarity Trial Vaccine) Team is ready,” she told the Manila Bulletin on Thursday night, Aug. 20.
The WHO announced on Aug. 11 that three new candidate drugs —artesunate, imatinib and infliximab— “are being tested in the latest phase of global Solidarity clinical trials to find effective treatments against COVID-19.” It said the drugs will be tested on hospitalized COVID-19 patients in 52 countries under the Solidarity PLUS programme.
Guevara disclosed last week that the clinical trial protocol and other related documents for the three coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccines that will be used in the SVT were being reviewed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
She said the trial protocol for the three vaccine brands got technical clearance from the agency’s Vaccine Expert Panel (VEP), chaired by Dr. Nina Gloriani, and was approved by the Single Joint Research Ethics Board (SJREB).
She cited the possibility of having more vaccine brands in the WHO’s SVT.
“Initially three brands, but the number can still increase,” Guevara said.
She said preparations for launching the Solidarity Vaccine Trial, in coordination with WHO Headquarter, were ongoing, with the start of vaccination targeted one day after WHO global launch this August.
Before it starts, the SVT should first get the nod of the VEP, SJREB and the FDA.
Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Francisco Duque III and WHO Chief Scientist Dr. Soumya Swaminathan had signed a letter of agreement for the conduct of SVT in the country.
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.
The DOST had disclosed that 21 areas, mostly in Manila and Quezon City have been identified as sites for the SVT.
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.