The World Health Organization (WHO) on Monday said it wanted the Philippines to provide more participants for the multinational clinical trials for Covid-19 vaccines.

WHO country representative Rabindra Abeyasinghe, in a Laging Handa briefing, said the Philippines was looking to participate with 2,000 to 3,000 volunteers.

“We are hoping that that number could be increased because the larger the number of people being trialed, the sooner we could get evidence of its efficacy and safety,” he said.

Abeyasinghe said the WHO was hoping the Philippines would deploy 4,000 individuals.

WHO protocols require participants for clinical trials to be between the ages of 18 and 60.

People with comorbidities and pregnant women were ineligible to join.

The Philippines has 10 identified vaccine trial sites, of which nine are in Metro Manila and one in Cebu.

While both areas have been seeing a decline in transmission, Abeyasinghe said the current levels of transmission were still “adequate” to test the vaccines.

The country has recorded 342,816 Covid-19 cases as of Oct. 12. John Ezekiel J. Hirro