Malacañang on Sunday said it expects the Philippines to join clinical trials for a vaccine against coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) by the last quarter of 2020.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque made this statement after President Rodrigo Duterte expressed optimism over news that some clinical trials for the development of Covid-19 vaccine are showing early promising results.

“We expect involvement in the vaccine clinical trials by the last quarter of 2020 with the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) taking a lead role,” Roque said in a statement.

Roque said the DOST has been tasked to provide the country’s collaborating organizations with the Department of Health (DOH), World Health Organization (WHO) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Philippines guidelines on vaccine clinical trials.

The DOST will also be in charge of identifying the sites, the local institutions and the Filipino researchers who will be involved in the collaborative trials, he said.

Moreover, the DOST will also be tasked to assist local participating institutions in their proposals and budgets; to obtain Ethics Board approvals and to formalize the agreements, he added.

“The President wants to save the life of each and every Filipino; and thus places great interest to these clinical trials,” Roque said.



Earlier, the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) approved the Philippines’ planned participation in the clinical trials for a vaccine against Covid-19 through Resolution No. 39 signed on May 22.

“IATF Resolution No. 39 mentions the approval of the recommendations of the DOST on the participation of the Philippines in the clinical trials for Covid-19 vaccines,” Roque said.

The IATF-EID approved the Philippines’ collaboration with organizations Adimmune Corporation, Academia Sinica, Chinese Academy of Science-Guangzhou Institute of Biomedicine and Health, and Sinopharma-Wuhan Institute of Biological Products and Beijing Institute.

The resolution states that the collaborating organizations will be provided with the WHO’s requirements for Covid-19 vaccine target product profiles; pre-qualification process for WHO approvals; and the FDA’s updated guidelines on clinical trials.

“Pursuant to the foregoing, the FDA is directed to advise on the process to facilitate the issuance of a permit for the conduct of the clinical trial in the Philippines,” the resolution read.

The DOST has been in talks with Chinese and Taiwanese organizations and research groups for possible clinical trials of a Covid-19 vaccine, based on Duterte’s eight weekly report to Congress on his administration’s efforts to arrest the spread of the Covid-19.

Once finished, the clinical trials will also be one of the requirements for the vaccine registration process by the FDA for issuance of the Certificate of Product Registration for market release in the Philippines, according to Resolution 39.

Duterte, in his public address delivered on May 19, sought the immediate purchase of a vaccine for the treatment of Covid-19, once it is available. (PNA)