Local pharma interested to reproduce Covid-19 vaccine: DOST

By Ma. Cristina Arayata

August 15, 2020, 6:01 pm

MANILA – A local pharmaceutical company had expressed interest to reproduce a coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) vaccine that other countries may develop, a Department of Science and Technology (DOST) official said on Saturday.

DOST Undersecretary Rowena Cristina Guevara said the Technical Advisory Group for Vaccine Industry held a meeting with nine pharmaceutical firms last week, regarding the fill and finish type of manufacturing.

"A letter of intent to reproduce other country's vaccine was received from one pharma," she told the Philippine News Agency.

Guevara, who chairs the Inter-Agency Task Force's (IATF) sub-technical working group (TWG) on vaccine development, earlier said the fill and finish type of manufacturing is where the filling up of vials, injection, ampules or container for the vaccine takes place at the end of the process, and then the vaccine is labeled and packaged for transport.

She reiterated that the Philippines does not have a local vaccine development for Covid-19 as there is no facility to develop one.

Meanwhile, DOST Secretary Fortunato dela Peña, in a message, said the meeting also tackled bilateral agreements and the World Health Organization (WHO) Solidarity Trials.

"Partners in China are already finalizing the confidentiality data agreements with DOST, so that they can provide preliminary data of their vaccine candidates that our Vaccine Expert Panel can review for possible clinical trials in the country," he said.

Dela Peña added that these vaccine candidates are those that the IATF had previously approved to be pursued by the sub-TWG.

Discussions are ongoing with various vaccine manufacturers in India, Japan, Canada, Russia and the United States, according to dela Peña.

With regard to the WHO Solidarity vaccine trials, he said the WHO is yet to release the detailed protocol and the list of candidate vaccines to be evaluated. In the meantime, preparatory activities are already being undertaken locally.

The main vaccine trial sites will be at the Philippine General Hospital (PGH), the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM), and Manila Doctors Hospital.

"The PGH and RITM have already formed a 16 and 17-person team, respectively, to implement the Solidarity trials. Several other hospitals that will affiliate with the three main sites are being evaluated by the DOST Vaccine Expert Panel," dela Peña said. (PNA)