Dengvaxia won’t bring dengue cases down – DOH

Maris Federez   •   August 8, 2019   •   1145

The controversial dengue vaccine, Dengvaxia

The Department of Health (DOH) on Thursday maintained that Dengavaxia is not the answer to the problem of the high incidence of dengue in the country.

DOH spokesperson and Officer in Charge of the Food and Drug Administration, Usec. Eric Domingo explained that dengue is not like any other disease where vaccination is the only solution.

He stressed that Dengvaxia is still not a registered drug in the country and its efficacy is not yet fully proven.

“This vaccine is not for an outbreak response. It’s designed for future use sa mga taong nagka- dengue na dati [for people who have had dengue before],” Domingo said.

A World Health Organization (WHO) report showed that “Dengvaxia was first licensed in Mexico in December 2015 for use in individuals 9-45 years of age living in endemic areas, and is now licensed in 20 countries.”

It was then used in 11 countries in 2016, including the Philippines.

But it was only in September 2018 that the WHO recommended that Dengvaxia be only administered to children who were previously infected with dengue, adding that it is dangerous for those who have not yet gotten the disease.

This caused among the public, as well as, experts as the Philippines is the only country who had used Dengvaxia vaccination on a wider scope, with more than 800,000 children inoculated.

The DOH maintained that there is still no concrete study to date that claimed that children who are vaccinated with Dengvaxia will never be infected with dengue.

“It’s very difficult because you’re tested and then you’re positive but you’re actually false positive. Then if you give the Dengvaxia, who knows that the severe dengue reaction will not occur in a particular individual. So, there’s a risk, in other words,” DOH Secretary Francisco Duque III said.  (with details from Aiko Miguel) /mbmf

From danger zone to moderate, DOH sees downward trend of COVID-19 cases

Aileen Cerrudo   •   September 28, 2020

The number of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases in the country is now at a downward trend, according to the Department of Health (DOH).

DOH Spokesperson Maria Rosario Vergeire said that, for the past six days, the number of new COVID-19 cases that they have been recording has been under 3,000.

We look at the trends noong ating mga averages per week. Makikita natin bumababa, nakikita natin bumababa tayo ng around 1,000 to 1,200 cases na comparing to the previous (We look at the trends in our average record per week. We see a decline in number around 1,000 to 1,200 cases compared to the previous records), she said.

This is also an indication that COVID-19 transmission in the country, especially in the National Capital Region (NCR), has dropped from the danger zone to moderate. From the 81% Critical Care Utilization Rate in the NCR last August, it went down to 60%.

The Critical Care Utilization Rate refers to the availability of ICU beds in COVID-19 wards, ventilator facilities, and other hospital needs for COVID-19 patients.

Health Undersecretary and Treatment Czar Dr. Leopoldo Vega said the decrease in the number of cases can help in recalibrating the strategies and responses of local government units in addressing the pandemic. This includes a boost in contract tracing and isolation of COVID-19 patients.

Ang malaking bahagi talaga sa pagsugpo ng COVID-19 ay iyong public health measure. At nakikita mo naman lalo na sa Metro Manila na kapag ang LGU ay aggressive sa testing, isolation at tracing ng mga positive sa COVID-19 ay malaki ng pagbabago (The huge part in fighting COVID-19 is public health measure. As you can see, especially in Metro Manila, if an LGU is aggressive in testing, isolation and tracing of COVID-19 positive it makes a huge difference),he said.

However, the DOH official said there are still areas where COVID-19 cases remain high and that the public should stay vigilant in abiding by the health and safety protocols.

Vergeire also said that despite the decline, the department still does not recommend to ease the quarantine restrictions in the country.

The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases should also consider other indicators such as the attack and growth curve before submitting their recommendation. AAC (with reports from Aiko Miguel)

COVID-19 vaccine approval in PH possible in April 2021 – FDA

Robie de Guzman   •   September 25, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The country’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Friday said the approval of a vaccine against novel coronavirus disease may be possible in April 2021.

During a virtual press briefing, FDA Director General Eric Domingo said this is “the best case scenario” if clinical trials are completed on schedule.

“If clinical trials are completed by December or January, and a company would file an application with FDA, it’s possible that by April 2021 we will have an approved vaccine,” he said.

“Talagang best case scenario yun, meaning yung three to six months, magiging three months; assuming that they will complete all their analysis and submitted immediately to FDA,” he added.

In the same briefing, Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Secretary Fortunato dela Peña said the time period of three to six months is the experts’ estimate on the completion of Phase III clinical trials for vaccine candidates.

“When they say 3-6 months, we prefer to use the longer forecast in our estimates. That would indicate in that period they would have finished clinical trials and probably already submitted to FDA their application and results of their trials,” he said.

Dela Peña said the World Health Organization (WHO) is set to release its list of selected vaccines and protocols in October and that the fastest that they can start the clinical trials will be in the last quarter of 2020.

“The vaccine trials according to experts will range from 3 to 6 months. I think the very early forecast that we have of second quarter 2021 is still the best forecast we can give,” he said.

The DOST said the Philippines is currently negotiating with 17 vaccine developers from other countries and six of them have already signed confidentiality disclosure agreements that would allow the sharing of their earlier trial results.

Among the six vaccine developers are Russia’s Gamaleya Research Institute and China’s Sinovac.

The FDA earlier promised it would expedite the approval procedures but assured that no steps will be skipped to ensure public’s health and safety. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Aiko Miguel)

DOST names 13 hospitals involved in WHO COVID-19 vaccine solidarity trials

Robie de Guzman   •   September 22, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) on Tuesday announced that 13 hospitals will be involved in the solidarity trials of the World Health Organization (WHO) for potential novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccines in the country.

In a statement, DOST Secretary Fortunato dela Peña said the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Disease (IATF-MEID) has adopted the agency’s recommendation for zoning on the solidarity trials for the vaccine candidates against COVID-19 which will be conducted this year.

Dela Peña said the vaccine candidates will be tested in eight trial zones, involving a total of 13 hospitals.

He identified these facilities as the Philippine General Hospital, Manila Doctors Hospital, San Lazaro Hospital, Lung Center of the Philippines, St. Luke’s Medical Center-Quezon City, the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine, Makati Medical Center, The Medical City, and St. Luke’s Medical Center-BGC, Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center, Chong Hua Hospital in Cebu City, De La Salle Health Sciences Institute in Cavite, and Southern Philippines Medical Center in Davao City.

The WHO solidarity trials will start this October and expected to be completed by the second quarter of the following year.

The DOST chief also confirmed that the Philippines is in agreement with five COVID- 19 vaccine developers that will enable clinical trial data sharing.

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