April is ‘best case scenario’ for COVID-19 vaccine availability

A VACCINE for the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) will be ready, at best, by April, according to the country’s secretary for science and technology.

“The fastest we can start (with trials) is December, the last quarter. The vaccine trials estimated by experts is three to six months,” Department of Science and Technology (DoST) Secretary Fortunato T. de la Pena said in a briefing Friday.

“The best case scenario,” he said, is that vaccines will be ready by April.

Mr. De la Pena was referring to the Philippines’ participation in the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Solidarity Trial, guidelines for which are expected to be released next month.

DoST has identified 13 medical facilities across the country that will participate.

Meanwhile, the country has also signed bilateral ties with 17 developers ofCOVID-19 vaccine.

“In each of these, the DoST has ongoing agreements on science and technology. So we base it on agreement in approaching these countries to find out what is the status of their vaccines and whether they are willing to enter in a partnership with us in one form or another through trials or through manufacturing in our country,” Mr. De la Pena said.

These developers are: Academia Sinica, Gamaleya Research Institute, Sinovac, Pfizer, Sinpharm, Moderna, AnGes, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, ZFSW, the University of Queensland, Adimmue, Tianyuan, Chang Gung University, Bharat Biotech, Bektop, Texas Children’s Hospital, and the University of Saskatchewan.

Another six pharmaceutical companies are covered by confidentiality data agreements, with three already in Phase 3 of their clinical trials for thevaccines. — Gillian M. Cortez

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