Biggest pharma in China invites PH to join global COVID-19 vaccine trial

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said Wednesday Sinopharm Group, the biggest pharmaceutical company in China, invited the Philippines to join its global clinical trial for a possible COVID-19 vaccine. 

However, Duque did not confirm yet if the government accepted the Chinese company’s offer. 

“Meron na pong sulat sa atin ang China… nag-alok na isama tayo sa kanilang global clinical trial for their newly developed vaccine,” Duque said in a Senate hearing on COVID-19.

(China sent us a letter offering to include us in their global clinical trial for their newly developed vaccine.)

“Meron na po silang na-develop na vaccine e, pero ito po ay kinakailangang sumailalim sa mga clinical trials para masiguro po ang safety and efficacy,” he added.

(They already developed a vaccine. But this needs to undergo clinical trials to ensure its safety and efficacy.)

The health chief also revealed earlier the Philippines is “actually” on the second wave of COVID-19 infection.

“Actually nasa second wave tayo, ‘yung first wave natin nagumpisa, batay po ito sa ating mag batikang epidemiologist, na ang first wave natin happened sometime in January,” Duque said.

(Actually, we are already in the second wave. Our first wave happened sometime in January, as our veteran epidemiologist said.)

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Are we really on the second wave?

Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, however, said the country had not reached the second wave of infections yet.

“Alam mo, hindi pronouncement ‘yan ng Presidente. Kailan ba lumabas’ yang second wave? That, we will have to see because as far as I know, wala pa tayo sa second wave,” Medialdea told reporters in an interview during the launch of Balik-Probinsya program .

(You know, that is not the President’s pronouncement. When did the second wave occur? That, we will have to see because as far as I know, we are not yet on the second wave.)

“Wala pa tayo sa second wave. Dinadasal natin, malakas siguro tayo magdasal. ‘Wag natin i-expect, ‘wag nating asahan pwede ba? Mahirapan tayo,” he added.

(We’re not yet experiencing a second wave. We are praying. Maybe we pray too well. Let’s not expect it, please? It will be hard for us.)

Dr. John Wong, who is also the founder of health research institution Epimetrics Inc. and a member of the task force’s subtechnical working group on data analytics, said the first wave of the happened in January when the country first recorded its COVID-19 cases which are all Chinese nationals.

Wong also said the second wave is the current coronavirus that already infected over 11,000 Filipinos and foreign nationals staying in the country.

He then warned the third wave of infections could occur once the government lifts the lockdown in the country.