Over 1,700 adult Filipinos have so far been enrolled in the Philippines’ yearlong “immunosurveillance” study which seeks to determine the effectiveness of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccines that were granted emergency use authorization (EUA) in the country, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) said Friday, Aug. 27.
DOST Undersecretary for Research and Development (R&D) Dr. Rowena Cristina Guevara said as of Aug. 20, a total of 1,725 Filipinos, including unvaccinated and those who completed their two-dose regimen have been recruited to take part in the large-scale study that is being conducted at the Philippine General Hospital (PGH) under the leadership of Dr. Regina Berba of the University of Philippines (UP)-Manila.
“As of August 20, the number of participants recruited at the UP-PGH site is 1,725,” she told the Manila Bulletin.
She said of the number, 869 individuals had undergone anti SARS-CoV-2 antibody testing.
The breakdown of the participants is as follows: unvaccinated, 15; vaccinated with Sinovac vaccine, 488; and vaccinated with AstraZeneca, 366.
“Recruitment of participants is ongoing,” Guevara said.
The immunosurveillance study started on July 1, 2021 and is targeting at least 5,000 participants. It is set to be conducted for about 12 to 18 months.
Guevara noted that the project team has already started setting a virtual or digital platform for the nationwide database.
DOST Secretary Fortunato “Boy” T. de la Peña announced late May that the Philippines will conduct a yearlong surveillance study to “determine the duration of protection of the EUA-approved COVID-19 vaccines as well as the possible factors affecting vaccine effectiveness.”
He said the project has been approved with a budget of P 114.9 million.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has so far issued EUA to COVID-19 vaccine developed by American drug firm Moderna, American drugmaker Pfizer, United Kingdom-based AstraZeneca, China’s Sinovac, Russia’s Gamaleya Research Institute, India’s Bharat Biotech, and US-based firm Johnson & Johnson.