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

Robie de Guzman   •   September 22, 2020   •   271

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.

Virgin coconut oil shows potential vs. COVID-19 based on DOST-funded study

Marje Pelayo   •   October 21, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — A research study conducted in Singapore and funded by the Department of Science and Technology, has revealed the potential of virgin coconut oil or VCO, in treating COVID-19.

The research showed that the COVID-19 virus count is reduced by 60 to 90 percent when subjected to invitro clinical trial of derivatives of virgin coconut oil. It also helps with the protection of cells and generation of antibodies.

Number one, nakakababa ng virus count ang pagpapa-react with the derivatives of coconut oil. Number two, meron siyang parang ability to preserve the cell that is being attacked by the virus. And number three, it has the ability also to regulate the generation of antibodies,” DOST Secretary Fortunato dela Peña explained.

The official said they are still waiting for the statistical analysis of the clinical trial of VCO conducted on 56 symptomatic volunteers at a hospital in Laguna.

Dela Peña added that all the participants have been sent home already.

“The fact na nakauwi silang lahat, bumuti na. Magandang indication. Of course hindi natin alam pa kung iyong mga bumuti ay iyon bang nakatanggap ng VCO,” he said. MNP (with details from Rey Pelayo)

No need for testing, quarantine for Pinoys from countries with low COVID-19 cases — DOH

UNTV News   •   October 20, 2020

Filipinos returning from countries with low coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases no longer need to undergo quarantine and testing, according to the Department of Health (DOH).

DOH Spokesperson Usec. Maria Rosario Vergeire said the World Health Organization (WHO) has issued classification on different prevalence levels of each country for the department to determine which countries have low COVID-19 cases.

“For those low to medium prevalence countries na may COVID-19, kapag dumating ang mga OFWs dito maaari nang hindi na muna i-test. Mag-comply ng minimum health standards, they can go back to their provinces, (For those with low to medium prevalence countries with COVID-19, OFWs from those areas no longer need to be tested. Just comply with the minimum health standards and they can go back to their provinces),” Vergeire said.

However, the Health Department reiterates that Filipinos who return to their provinces still need to follow the minimum health standards and symptoms monitoring implemented in the area. Vergeire said the local government units (LGUs) will be in charge of monitoring their condition and COVID-19 testing, if necessary.

It is also under the LGUs mandate to test individuals entering their areas to prevent the spread of the virus.

“Whatever the local governments would require for them to enter into their province, they have to comply,” Vergeire said.

She added LGUs have their own guidelines for domestic travelers, including those who are coming from areas with high COVID-19 cases, such as the National Capital Region. -AAC (with reports from Aiko Miguel)

There is hope COVID-19 vaccine may be ready by end of 2020, WHO says

Robie de Guzman   •   October 7, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The World Health Organization (WHO) has expressed hope that a vaccine against novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) may be ready by year-end.

“We will need vaccines and there is hope that by the end of this year we may have a vaccine. There is hope,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in his address at the end of a two-day meeting of the agency’s Executive Board on the pandemic.

Tedros did not offer any additional details.

He, however, called for solidarity and political commitment from world leaders to ensure equitable distribution of the vaccine when it becomes available.

“We need each other, we need solidarity and we need to use all the energy we have to fight the virus,” he said.

Nine experimental vaccines in various stages of trials are in the pipeline of the WHO-led COVAX global vaccine facility that aims to distribute two billion doses by the end of 2021.

A total of 172 countries have joined WHO’s COVAX initiative, excluding the United States, China, and Russia. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Mirasol Abogadil)

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