3 more vaccine developers seek trials in PHL – BusinessWorld
THREE more coronavirus vaccine developers applied for clinical trials in the Philippines, the Department of Science and Technology said on Tuesday.
In a press briefing, Science and Technology Undersecretary Rowena Cristina L. Guevara said the task group on vaccine evaluation and selection received clinical trial applications from West China Hospital and Sichuan University, Shenzhen Kangtai Biological Products Co., and Eubiologics Co. Ltd.
“Evaluation of the first two new applications are ongoing, while Eubiologics Co. Ltd. are still completing some requirements,” she told an online briefing.
The applications are for phase III clinical trials, she said.
The clinical trial of Janssen and Clover Biopharmaceuticals were ongoing, while the local Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is waiting for Sinovac Biotech Ltd.’s submission of their protocol amendment, according to Ms. Guevara.
Applicants for clinical trial have to secure approval of the Science and Technology department’s vaccine expert panel and ethics committee before going through the application process at the local FDA.
The S&T department is also awaiting the final protocol and list of vaccines from the World Health Organization (WHO) so the Solidarity Trial for vaccines may be applied with the ethics board and the FDA.
Meanwhile, anti-corruption organization Transparency International Global Health and the University of Toronto on Tuesday warned that lack of transparency in coronavirus vaccine trials and secrecy over deals between government and drug firm “risks the success of the global pandemic response.”
In a statement, Transparency International said they studied the development and sale of the Top 20 vaccines globally, which included those developed by AstraZeneca, Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna.
It said that the analysis of clinical trial data and nearly 200 contracts for vaccine sales up to March 2021 revealed “a pattern of poor transparency and a disturbing trend of governments censoring key details of their orders from drug companies.”
“With recent polling showing that one third of the world’s population — 1.3 billion people — are unwilling to take a coronavirus vaccine, transparency is vital to build confidence,” it said.
Jonathan Cushing, head of Transparency International’s Global Health Programme, said the results “carry important implications not just for the COVID-19 response, but also for future health emergencies.”
The Department of Health (DoH) reported 3,972 coronavirus infections on Tuesday, bringing the total to 1.19 billion.
The death toll rose by 36 to 20,019, while recoveries increased by 4,659 to 1.12 million, it said in a bulletin.
There were 48,201 active cases, 1.6% of which were critical, 92.7% were mild, 2.1% did not show symptoms, 2.1% were severe and 1.42% were moderate.
About 12.2 million Filipinos have been tested for the coronavirus as of May 23, according to DoH’s tracker website.
More than 4.4 million doses of coronavirus vaccines have been given out as of May 24, according to Vivencio B. Dizon, deputy chief implementer of the country’s pandemic response.
He said more than 3.3 million Filipinos already got their first dose, while 986,929 have completed their vaccination.
The Philippine has already received more than 8.2 million vaccine doses since it began its coronavirus immunization program in March.
Mr. Dizon expressed confidence that the government would be able to vaccinate more than half of the population in Metro Manila, the capital region, and nearby cities and provinces by the end of the month.
At the same briefing, Presidential Spokesman Herminio “Harry” L. Roque, Jr. reminded the public that the country’s supply of coronavirus vaccines from the United States is not enough to inoculate the entire Filipino population.
A recent poll by the Social Weather Stations revealed that the US is the preferred source of vaccines by more than half of adult Filipinos.
“We do understand that historically, Filipinos look on with favor to things that are ‘stateside’,” he said in Filipino. “But our message simply is, even if we already have some ‘stateside’ vaccines, these are not enough for everyone.”
Earlier this month, the country took delivery of about 193,000 doses of the vaccine made by the US’s Pfizer, Inc.
Two more companies expressed interest to start local vaccine manufacturing, bringing the total to eight, according to Ms. Guevara.
One of the companies has ongoing talks with a Taiwanese vaccine developer while the other “expressed interest to participate in the WHO initiative for the establishment of a COVID-19 mRNA vaccine technology transfer hub,” she said. — Vann Marlo M. Villegas and Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza
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