The Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases on May 22 approved the country’s participation in clinical trials for Covid-19 vaccines, in collaboration with four Asian organizations.

Collaborating organizations include Taiwan-based Adimmune Corporation and China-based Academia Sinica, Chinese Academy of Science – Guangzhou Institute of Biomedicine and Health, and SinoPharma – Wuhan Institute of Biological Products and Beijing Institute.

The collaborating organizations will be provided with World Health Organization (WHO) requirements for Covid-19 vaccine target product profiles, pre-qualification process for WHO approvals, and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) updated guidelines on clinical trials.

“Once clinical trials are finished, these will form part of the requirements for the vaccine registration process by the FDA for issuance of the Certificate of Product Registration for market release in the Philippines,” IATF Resolution No. 39 read.

Last May 20, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire announced that the country will be part of solidarity trials in January 2021, to be conducted by American biotech firm Moderna, should it reach Phase 3 of clinical trials.

A sub-technical working group headed by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) will also be formed to coordinate for “matters relating to such clinical trials” with the Department of Health, FDA, Research Institute for Tropical Medicine and WHO.

The IATF also backed DOST’s plan to establish the Virology S&T Institute in New Clark City and the reactivation of the Pharmaceutical Development Unit at DOST-Industrial Technology Development Institute as a Tuklas Lunas Center for Pharmaceuticals Development. John Ezekiel J. Hirro