India, Canada eye vaccine trials collaboration with PH

By Ma. Cristina Arayata

July 13, 2020, 9:37 am

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MANILA – India and Canada have expressed interest to collaborate with the Philippines in their vaccine trials, an official from the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) said.

In an interview with the Philippine News Agency (PNA) over the weekend, DOST-Philippine Council for Health Research and Development executive director Jaime Montoya said the two countries sent separate proposals, coming from the University of Saskatchewan in Canada and from Bharat Biotech in India that are developing the vaccines for use in the trials.

"As of now, we are talking about the clinical trial phase 3. India is heading to that phase, while Canada is about to start the phase 1," he said.

Montoya said both countries are possible partners of the Philippines.

"We do not know yet which (of the two vaccines) would be effective, that is why the clinical trial phase 3 has to be done. If the result is good, it would gain fast registration to the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) because of the patients' experience and data from the clinical trial where we would participate," he said.

He said India would start the clinical trial phase 3 in September, while Canada may likely start the phase 1 in the first quarter of 2021. Clinical trials would be done in the Philippines once approved and permitted by the FDA of all countries concerned.

"It is required to have the FDA approval of source countries (Canada or India), and (the Philippines' FDA) to conduct the clinical trials here," Montoya said.

The vaccines, he added, should be tested in areas where there are many cases like the Philippines.

“The vaccine has to show that it will be able to prevent cases and protect the people," he added.

In a message to the PNA, DOST Secretary Fortunato dela Peña said the two countries' interest to collaborate would provide the Philippines with more options of vaccines that can be made available in the country.

"The clinical trials will still determine which of them will be truly effective and protective," dela Peña said. (PNA)