WHO hopes Philippines can tap up to 4k volunteers for Solidarity Trial

MANILA, Oct 12 (Mabuhay) —  The World Health Organization (WHO) on Monday expressed hope that the Philippines will increase the number of participants for the WHO-sanctioned COVID-19 vaccine trial scheduled to begin later this month.

At the Laging Handa briefing, WHO Representative to the Philippines Rabindra Abeyasinghe said the Philippines is currently looking at around 2,000 to 3,000 participants for the WHO Solidarity Trial.

“We are hoping that number could be increased because the larger the number of people, the sooner we could get evidence of efficacy, safety,” he said.

Excluded from the trial are pregnant women and those with comorbidities, the WHO official said.

Abeyasinghe added the WHO is still finalizing the candidate vaccines that will be used for the trial.

“We are not yet clear which vaccines will be included for the Philippines,” he said.

On Sunday, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) said it would hold a dry run for the cold chain transport of possible COVID-19 vaccines to clinical trial sites.

Twelve hospitals across Metro Manila, Cavite, Cebu City, and Davao City will serve as trial sites.

The DOST will also form a data and safety monitoring committee to oversee volunteers.

Some P89 million has been allocated by the Philippine government for the Solidarity Trial, a global effort aimed at developing and evaluating possible candidate vaccines against COVID-19.

The Philippines has so far reported 339,341 COVID-19 cases, including 293,075 recoveries and 6,321 deaths. (MNS)

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