Good news on vaccine search but still long way to go — WHO

UNTV News   •   July 21, 2020   •   294

The World Health Organisation (WHO) on Monday (July 20) welcomed progress on research into vaccines to counter COVID-19 but warned there was still much work to be done.

Mike Ryan, head of the WHO’s emergencies programme, welcomed news that AstraZeneca’s experimental vaccine developed with Britain’s Oxford University was safe and produced an immune response in early-stage clinical trials in healthy volunteers.

Ryan told a media briefing in Geneva there were 23 potential vaccines in development with three making data available for examination by other scientists in peer reviews.

U.S. drugmaker Pfizer and German biotech firm BioNTech also provided additional promising data, Ryan said.

“This this is a positive result. But again, there is a long way to go,” Ryan added.

“These are phase one studies. We now need to move into larger scale, real world trials.”

WHO director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said: “We do not have to wait for a vaccine. We have to save lives now. We must continue to accelerate vaccine research while doing more with the tools we have at hand.”

Global infections stand at more than 14.5 million, according to a Reuters tally, with more than 600,000 deaths. (Reuters)

(Production: Lucy Marks)

WHO solidarity trial in PH to begin in December—DOH

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 27, 2020

The solidarity trial of the World Health Organization (WHO) for potential vaccines against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the Philippines and other countries will begin in December.

Department of Health (DOH) Spokesperson Usec. Maria Rosario Vergeire said 150 to 200 will participate in the trial in 12 sites in the country.

Sa November kasi parang maguumpisa sa isang site and mag-follow na po iyong iba’t ibang clinical trials in the other countries including the Philippines by December of 2020 (The trial will begin in November in one site and it will be followed by other clinical trials in other countries including the Philippines by December of 2020), she said.

The Health Department also announced Interferon will no longer be a part of WHO’s solidarity trial. Vergeire reported the said drug did not reduce the mortality rate of COVID-19 patients.

Iyong gamot hindi na-reach objective (The medicine did not reach its objective),” she said.

The WHO has previously discontinued the use of hydroxychloroquine and lopinavir/ritonavir treatment after seeing no signs of effectiveness in treating COVID-19 patients.

Meanwhile, the WHO added two drugs for the therapeutics solidarity trial, which include Acalabrutinib that is used for the chemotherapeutic regimen of patients. AAC (with reports from Aiko Miguel)

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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