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In the Philippines, our clinical trials are categorized into two:
WHO Solidarity Vaccine Trial, as approved by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases Resolutions (IATF) Resolution No. 47, as part of our country’s commitment to make the COVID-19 vaccine available in the soonest time possible for the Filipino people.
- The Solidarity Vaccine Trial is a global action led by WHO to:
- to evaluate vaccine candidates as quickly as possible (identify vaccine candidates and their progress)
- to define the desired characteristics of safe and effective vaccines to combat the pandemic, and
- to coordinate the clinical trials across the world giving the best chance of safe and effective vaccines for all
Independent Trials, where other vaccine developers can conduct independent clinical trials in the Philippines provided that they will be able to fund their own trials and have their application registered and approved by the FDA.
The Task Group on Vaccine Evaluation and Selection (TG VES), composed of the Department of Science and Technology, Department of Health, Food and Drug Administration, Research Institute for Tropical Medicine , Department of Foreign Affairs, Department of Trade and Industry - Board of Investments and the National Development COmpany, oversees the applications for the conduct of clinical trials in the country, and evaluate the results of these trials. The TG VES provides recommendations on which vaccines will be considered for negotiation and procurement by evaluating: safety, efficacy and other relevant data from clinical trials, existing evidence and updates on vaccine development, and international recommendations on vaccine use.
Why should the Philippines participate in the ongoing clinical trials for COVID-19 vaccines?
Considering the current limitations of our country in terms of vaccine development, participation in clinical trials of the most advanced candidates developed by international partners will be the best short-term strategy for us. Participation in these clinical trials will secure a shorter and easier route in registration with the Philippine Food and Drugs Administration (FDA).
By pursuing collaborations and by participating in clinical trials, we are hoping to:
- To provide efficacy and safety data for a vaccine that is directly attributed to the Filipino population
- To generate necessary long-term data on safety and efficacy of vaccines, which is also necessary for CPR application even for vaccine candidates with an EUA
- There are still a lot of unknowns about COVID-19 especially on whether this will be like flu in the long run which will need follow-up yearly vaccinations.
- With new COVID-19 variants being identified, tweaking of vaccine candidates or their dosing schedule may also be needed to improve their efficacy and clinical studies are needed to confirm this.
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- Published: 09 February 2021