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Philippines joins China and Taiwan for clinical trial of potential COVID-19 vaccine

The Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) on Emerging Infectious Diseases on Friday (May 22), approved the recommendation from the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) to let the country participate in clinical trials for COVID-19 vaccines being developed by China and Taiwan.

The country has earlier approved two clinical trials to find a cure for the highly contagious respiratory disease including the global solidarity trial for  combination of drugs and a Japanese anti-viral drug Avigan. The DOH also said that 12 hospitals in the Philippines are part of the World Health Organization's (WHO's) solidarity trial, a trailblazing program which aim to find a cure for the coronavirus disease.

President Rodrigo Duterte said, the DOST had raised the possibility of collaborating with the two foreign based research groups and the Philippines will be working closely with the Adimmune Corporation and Academia Sinica of Taiwan, as well as the Guangzhou Institute of Biomedicine and Health-Chinese Academy of Science, and SinoPharm (Wuhan Institute of Biological Products and Beijing Institute).

A potential vaccine was developed by the Wuhan Institute of Biological Products, under the China National Pharmaceutical Group (Sinopharm) and the Wuhan Institute of Virology under the Chinese Academy of Sciences. Once completed, the trials will be part of the requirements for the vaccine registration process by the FDA, and the issuance of the Certificate of Product Registration (CPR) for market release in the country according to the IATF.

The Department of Health (DOH) has also allocated 18-million pesos for the trials of the drug Avigan. The medication, commonly known as favipiravir, was previously used to treat influenza. There are three identified sites for the Avigan trials with a target of 80-100 test subjects.

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