President Rodrigo Duterte has allowed the country's Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to authorize the emergency use of COVID-19 vaccines and drugs, joining other nations rushing to find an end to the pandemic that has upended life worldwide.
Duterte, in an executive order signed on Tuesday, granted the FDA director-general the power to issue an emergency use authorization.
An emergency use authorization, according to the President's order, will only remain valid when the following circumstances are present:
1. If it is reasonable to believe that the drug or vaccine may be effective to prevent, diagnose, or treat COVID-19 based on the available evidence including data from clinical trials.
2. The known and potential benefits of the drug or vaccine when used to diagnose, prevent or treat COVID-19 outweigh the known and potential risks of the drug or vaccine if any
3. There is no adequate, approved and available alternative to the drug of vaccine for diagnosing, preventing or treating COVID-19.
President Duterte said an emergency use authorization for COVID-19 vaccines and drugs will only be valid within the duration of the declared public health emergency due to the virus.
The order comes following promising results from COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials that have raised hopes that the end of the pandemic is in sight.
Experimental vaccines that have so far reported promising clinical trial results are those trialed by Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna which have come in at around 95% effectivity.
UNDERSTANDING CLINICAL TRIALS:
Last week, Philippine business leaders also led the advance purchase of some 2.6 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines from British drugmaker AstraZeneca, which earlier announced that its COVID-19 vaccine, developed with the University of Oxford has shown "an average efficacy of 70%" in trials.
The Philippines is eyeing to start immunizing its people against COVID-19 by the second quarter of next year.