Russia has yet to formally apply for clinical trials in the Philippines for its COVID-19 vaccine, which it claims is the first market-ready in the world, the Department of Health said Tuesday.
Gamaleya, which makes the Sputnik V vaccine, has finished Phases 1 and 2 of its trials in Russia. It needs to pass Phase 3 before it can be mass-produced and distributed.
Manila is in close coordination with Gamaleya, but the manufacturer is yet to respond to the questions of the Philippines' vaccine panel and formally apply for clinical trials, said Health Usec. Rosario Vergeire.
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“They are yet to apply. We are in close coordination with them. They have provided us initial documents for evaluation of our vaccine panel experts, and we have asked for additional information for our vaccine panel experts to complete their evaluation,” Vergeire told ANC.
There's more to a clinical trial than just applying for one—vaccine experts must first evaluate the vaccine and pass an ethics review before it's passed on to the Food and Drug Administration for assessment. Only then can a clinical trial begin.
Should it pass strict reviews, areas with high concentration of COVID-19 cases will be prioritized, the Department of Science and Technology said earlier.
If all goes according to plan and the vaccine works, the Department of Health said the government needs to set aside P12.9 billion to purchase COVID-19 vaccines for the country.
President Rodrigo Duterte earlier expressed his gratitude towards Russia for offering to supply vaccines to the Philippines. He also said he would be the first to try it for its efficacy and safety before Filipino get access to the vaccine.