AstraZeneca wants to hold COVID-19 clinical trial in PH

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 19) — British pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca has applied for a clinical trial in the country of its experimental coronavirus vaccine, a Department of Science and Technology official said Thursday.

The vaccine experts panel has yet to review AstraZeneca’s application pending the submission of documentary requirements, Dr. Jaime Montoya, executive director of the Department of Science and Technology - Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (DOST-PCHRD), told CNN Philippines in a text message.

“If the documents are complete, they will start review,” Montoya said.

The vaccine experts panel is tasked to review the results of the applicants’ Phase 1 and 2 clinical trials.

AstraZeneca is the fifth firm to signify interest to hold clinical trials in the Philippines. The others are Clover Biopharmaceutical, Sinovac, Johnson & Johnson's Janssen Vaccines and Prevention B.V, and Gamaleya Research Institute.

So far, only China-based Sinovac has passed the screening of the vaccine experts panel, and its proposal has been endorsed to the Food and Drug Administration for final approval.

Ito po ay ine-evaluate natin ngayon … Ilang requirement nalang ang hinihingi para ma-approve natin ang clinical trial na ito,” FDA chief Rolando Domingo said of Sinovac’s application in a briefing on Thursday.

[Translation: This is being evaluated. A few requirements were asked of them before we could approve the conduct of this clinical trial.]

Meanwhile, the proposals of three other manufacturers are still being reviewed by the vaccine experts panel.

Earlier, AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson had to briefly pause their trials in the United States due to health scares, CNN International has reported.

AstraZeneca's trial was paused in early September after a volunteer in Britain developed a neurological condition, CNN said. Johnson & Johnson's research was halted in early October because of a study participant's "unexplained illness," it added. But in late October, both firms announced they have been allowed to resume trials.