IATF approves Phl participation in COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials

Maris Federez   •   May 24, 2020   •   805

MANILA, Philippines — Upon the recommendation of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) has approved the proposed participation of the Philippines in clinical trials that seek to formulate a potential vaccine against coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

Based on IATF Resolution No.39 dated May 22, 2020, the task force has also ordered the creation of a sub-technical working group which will be led by the DOST.

The group will be coordinating with the four collaborating organizations composed of the Department of Health (DOH), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM), and the World Health Organization (WHO) with regard to the said clinical trials.

The IATF has also issued a directive to the FDA to facilitate the processing of necessary permits for the conduct of the clinical trials in the country.

The collaborating organizations for the clinical trials are the Adimmune Corporation, Academia Sinica, Chinese Academy of Science- Guangzhou Institute of Biomedicine and Health, the Sinopharm – Wuhan Institute of Biological Products, and the Beijing Institute.

Once the clinical trials are undertaken, these will be included in the FDA’s requirements for the registration process for the vaccine and the application for certificate of registration to make the vaccine available in the market.

The Philippines has initially participated in the WHO’s clinical trials, which include the testing of off-label drugs that show potential of being effective against COVID-19.

Meanwhile, the IATF has also approved the plans of the DOST to construct research centers for the local vaccine research development.

These include the Virology S&T Institute at the New Clark City in Tarlac and the reactivation of the Pharmaceutical Development Unit of the DOST-Industrial Technology Development Institute. —(from the report of Rosalie Coz) /mbmf

FDA confirms Sinovac submitted application for independent clinical trial

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 22, 2020

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has confirmed Sinovac, a China-based biopharmaceutical company, had submitted its application to conduct independent clinical trials in the country.

FDA Director-General Usec. Eric Domingo, however, said Sinovac has yet to submit other documents for the agency to process its application.

“That is undergoing regulatory evaluation, ganoon din iyong Ethics Board Evaluation niya—tuloy-tuloy po iyon (this also includes its Ethics Board Evaluation, it is ongoing), he said.

Department of Health (DOH) Spokesperson Maria Rosario Vergeire said vaccine experts panel also approved Sinovac in their preliminary review.

Kapag na complete na iyong requirements at nabigyan na sila ng approval then maari na pong mag umpisa (Once the requirements are complete and they received an approval, clinical trials can begin), she said.

Sinovac is among the three vaccine manufacturers that submitted their application to vaccine experts. -AAC (with reports from Aiko Miguel)

New COVID-19 cases in PH hits 1,509, total cases reached 362,243

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 21, 2020

The Philippines records a total of 1,509 new cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) with 362,243 total cases, the Department of Health (DOH) reported on Wednesday (October 21).

The DOH also recorded 60 deaths and 911 recoveries. The day’s recorded recoveries brought the total number to 311,506.

Based on DOH COVID-19 Case Bulletin no. 221, 90% of the total daily cases occurred within the recent 14 days, while the top regions in the recent two weeks are in the National Capital Region (NCR) with 320 cases, and Region 4A with 297 cases.

The DOH also added that 41 duplicates were removed from the total case count. Thirty-one recovered cases and three deaths have also been removed from the list.

The University of the Philippines Octa Research Team said there are still areas with high COVID-19 cases since October 11, based on their research. These areas include several areas in the National Capital Region (NCR), Pasig, Makati, Pasay, Mandaluyong, and Marikina.

Meanwhile, DOH Spokesperson Usec. Maria Rosario Vergeire said 60-70% of the country’s population should be vaccinated against COVID-19 for herd immunity.

“It doesn’t stop there because we would need 60-70% of the population immunized so we can have herd immunity. So when we talk about P12.5 billion that is just covering our population,” she said. AAC (with reports from Aiko Miguel)

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)

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