PH reviewing first batch of documents on Russian COVID-19 vaccine

By: Daphne Galvez - Inquirer.net | August 24,2020 - 12:13 PM

FILE PHOTO: A small bottle labeled with a “Vaccine” sticker is held near a medical syringe in front of displayed “Coronavirus COVID-19” words in this illustration taken April 10, 2020. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic

MANILA, Philippines — Philippine medical authorities are currently reviewing the first batch of documents on Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine against the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

Dr. Jaime Montoya, executive director of the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development, on Monday said that Russia has already released the first batch of documents on the vaccine and it could take a week to know whether or not “there is a high likelihood that a trial will be done” in the country.

“We already received the first batch of documents for review. Currently, we are reviewing the said documents,” Montoya said in an interview on ABS CBN News Channel.

The Philippines is scheduled to conduct Phase 3 of clinical trials of Sputnik V vaccine from October 2020 to March 2021.

The human testing phase will be funded by the Russian government and will be done simultaneously in Manila and Moscow.

Before a trials start, however,  vaccine experts in the country must first review the protocols and guidelines. This must also be approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

“Maybe there will be some exchange of questions with our vaccine expert panel and those in Russia, and maybe in the next few days , we’ll have an idea whether there is a chance or a high likelihood that the protocols will be implemented here in the Philippines,” Montoya said.

The earliest the Philippines could get its hands on a vaccine against COVID-19 would be by the third quarter of 2021, that is if clinical trials would be done on time and it would be analyzed and studied by the FDA, Montoya said.

“If best case scenario, everything goes well, they finish their clinical trials on time, maybe in the first quarter of next year, they analyze the data, they submit all their data to the FDA, that will require one month or so, maybe at the earliest, best case scenario, sometime early part of the 3rd quarter next year,” he said in an interview over ABS CBN News Channel.

The Department of Science and Technology earlier said a vaccine could be available “en masse” by the second quarter of 2021. 

Even though the Philippines will participate in Russian vaccine trial, Montoya said it is not an assurance that the country will get priority once the vaccine becomes available commercially.

“A more important assurance is that we have negotiations with them as far as procurement is concerned, maybe a special arrangement of their priorities, or special prices,” he said.

The country also joined COVAX Facility, a mechanism designed to guarantee rapid, fair, and equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines worldwide.

The Philippines is likewise part of the World Health Organization’s Solidarity Trial for different COVID-19 treatment.

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