Discussions with other COVID vaccine manufacturers ongoing – DOST

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 15) – Despite Russia’s offer of its Sputnik-V coronavirus vaccine to the Philippines, the Science and Technology Department said discussions are underway with other vaccine manufacturers around the world.

DOST Secretary Fortunato dela Peña made the announcement via a Facebook Live broadcast of the DOST Report, an online show created by the same unit producing the agency’s flagship science and technology television program DOSTv.

Iba-ibang pathways ang aming dinadaanan dito. Unang-una, andun yung ating mga ineexplore na collaboration agreements for clinical trials with institutions that are leading in the development and coming from countries with bilateral agreements on science and technology, research and development,” dela Peña said.

[TRANSLATION: We are using different pathways here. First, there are collaboration agreements we are exploring for clinical trials with institutions…”]

Dela Peña said some of the countries their group is having discussions with are China, India, Japan, Canada, and the United States – this is aside from their meetings with Russia, which recently offered their vaccine to the Philippines. Russian Ambassador to the Philippines Igor Khovaev reiterated that there is “nothing to hide” about the Sputnik-V coronavirus jab, saying data is available about the vaccine.

READ: Russia has nothing to hide about Sputnik V, says envoy

Sec. Dela Peña also said clinical trials for Sputnik-V will commence in October and may end by May of 2021 – same as the earliest date Malacañang announced earlier this week about how soon President Rodrigo Duterte can get vaccinated with the Gamaleya Institute-made vaccine.

Mahaba-habang proseso dahil iaanalyze pa ng experts dito yung data na ibinibigay nila bago tayong magsimula ng clinical trials,” Dela Peña said.

[TRANSLATION: This will be a long process because experts will analyze the data they (Russia) will give before we start clinical trials.]

The secretary also said the vaccine will have to be approved by the Philippine Food and Drug Administration or FDA before it can be used.

In the meantime, the DOST is also waiting on the final list of vaccines from the World Health Organization which would be used for trials in the Philippines.

Six vaccines from China, the US, and the UK are currently in the third stage of clinical trials.

Dela Peña said three hospitals have been eyed for vaccine trials: the Philippine General Hospital (PGH) and Manila Doctor’s Hospital – both in the nation’s capital, and the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) in Muntinlupa City, also the Philippines’ premier coronavirus testing facility.