AN additional budget of P384.4 million was approved by President Duterte following the expansion of the World Health Organization (WHO) Solidarity Vaccine Trial from 4,000 to 15,000 participants, according to Department of Science and Technology Undersecretary for Research and Development Rowena Cristina Guevara.

“The Philippine team is currently recruiting the additional manpower needed, preparing the sites, and coordinating with relevant government agencies and local government units,” Guevara said at the Department of Health (DOH) online media forum on Friday. Guevara said that the WHO trial – a global effort to evaluate promptly, efficiently, and reliably the safety and efficacy of candidate vaccines – will be at the barangay level. “Thus, those barangays that have been chosen as trial sites will be where participants will be recruited,” she added. Eleven hospitals will serve as trial sites for the WHO Solidarity Trial which is expected to start either this month or February.

After UK-based pharmaceutical firm AstraZeneca withdrew its application to conduct clinical trials in the Philippines, Guevara revealed that Russia’s Gamaleya Institute has also decided to no longer push through its clinical trial in the country. She said that Gamaleya applied for an emergency use authorization of its Covid-19 vaccine in the Philippines instead.


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