DOST says WHO's vaccine trial slated in January, names participating sites

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, December 4) — The Solidarity trial on potential coronavirus vaccines led by the World Health Organization may start in January, with two unnamed candidate vaccines to be initially tested for efficacy and safety, an official said Friday.

“The possible start of Solidarity vaccine trial in the Philippines is by early or mid-January. This allows us more time to prepare very well for the actual implementation,” Dr. Nina Gloriani, head of the Department of Science and Technology’s vaccine expert panel, said in an online briefing.

Initially, the Solidarity was slated to start in the Philippines in October. Its target start date again was moved to December. Gloriani noted that WHO is exercising caution in selecting the vaccines which will be included in its vaccine trial.

“The vaccine prioritization is taking a long time because they are very careful in choosing each one,” said Gloriani, who is also a member of the WHO scientific steering committee.

She said that out of the five candidate vaccines being considered by WHO, two of them are the “most promising.” But “there are still certain issues with those two,” Gloriani said, refusing to name them until the list becomes official.

She hinted that they are leading coronavirus vaccines which are being developed.

“Pero nasa radar narin namin. Ibig sabihin napagaralan namin ng VEP (vaccine expert panel) kaya hindi tayo masyado matatagalang magevaluate,” the official said.

[Translation: They are within our radar, meaning they have been reviewed by the VEP so it would not take us a long time to evaluate them.]

She added the members of the WHO scientific steering committee will meet tonight and the final list will hopefully come out soon.

Gloriani also named the hospitals and communities that will join the trial.

These health facilities are:

-Philippine General Hospital

-Research Institute for Tropical Medicine

-Manila Doctors Hospital

-San Lazaro Hospital

-St. Luke's Medical Center — Quezon City

-St. Luke's Medical Center — BGC

-Lung Center of the Philippines

-The Medical City

-Makati Medical Center

-De La Salle University Medical Center Health Sciences Campus in Cavite

-Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center

-Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center

-Southern Philippines Medical Center

-Western Visayas Medical Center

Meanwhile, the communities comprise of eight villages in Manila; four in Pasay City; one in Taguig; two in Itogon, Benguet; one in Tuba, Benguet; five in Baguio City; and four in Davao City.

“Those barangays have attack rates of more than 1% or have consistent infections over the past 4 to six weeks as of Nov. 30,” Gloriani noted.

The attack rate refers to the proportion of those who have gotten ill after their exposure to the virus.