Philippines to join Taiwan’s clinical trials for COVID-19 vaccine

MANILA (CNA) — The Philippines has decided to participate in clinical trials by Taiwanese and Chinese institutions aimed at developing vaccines against COVID-19, according to a resolution issued Saturday by the Philippine government’s coronavirus response team.

The Philippine Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases has approved the recommendations of its government’s Department of Science and Technology (DOST) on the participation of Filipinos in the clinical trials for COVID-19 vaccine candidates, according to the resolution.

The institutions with which the Philippines will cooperate include Taiwan’s Adimmune Corp. and Academia Sinica, as well as the Guangzhou Institutes of Biomedicine and Health under the Chinese Academy of Science and the China National Pharmaceutical Group’s Wuhan and Beijing institutes of biological products, the resolution says.

The DOST will also establish a technical working group to coordinate with the Philippine Department of Health, its Food and Drug Administration (FDA), its Research Institute for Tropical Medicine and the World Health Organization (WHO) to discuss matters related to the trials.

The cooperating organizations will be provided with the WHO requirements for COVID-19 vaccine target product profiles, the pre-qualification process for WHO approval and the Philippine FDA updated guidelines on clinical trials.

The task force also directed the FDA to help with the issuance of a permit for conducting clinical trials in the country, according to the resolution.

It supported DOST’s plan to establish a Virology Science and Technology Institute in New Clark City and to reactivate the Pharmaceutical Development Unit at the DOST-Industrial Technology Development Institute, to be renamed the Tuklas Center for Pharmaceutical Development.

As of Sunday, COVID-19 had infected 5,337,297 people in 187 countries and regions around the world, including 14,035 in the Philippines, where 868 deaths have been reported.

To encourage the development of a COVID-19 vaccine, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte is offering a reward of 50 million pesos (US$984,584) to anyone in the Philippines who can develop a vaccine against COVID-19.