DOST coordinates with Chinese, Taiwanese research groups for COVID-19 vaccine trials

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President Rodrigo Duterte reported to Congress that the Department of Science and Technology was coordinating with six Chinese and Taiwanese research groups and organizations for possible COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials. 

Duterte said the DOST had “exploratory talks for possible involvement in the clinical trials” with the Chinese Academy of Sciences and SinoPharm in China, Academia Sinica, the National Health Research Institute, Chang Gung University, and Adimmune Corporation in Taiwan.

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GEN reported that “state-run news agency Xinhua reported on April 25 that Wuhan Institute of Biological Products, part of state-owned China National Pharmaceutical Group (Sinopharm Group) and the Wuhan Institute of Virology, part of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, had advanced their COVID-19 vaccine candidate to a Phase II trial that began a day earlier.”

“The vaccine is being studied in randomized, double-blind, and placebo-controlled clinical trials conducted in Jiaozuo, central China’s Henan Province. Sinopharm announced that 96 participants in three age groups had received the vaccine in Phase I as of April 23,” it added.

“The vaccine has shown good safety so far, and vaccine receivers are still under observation,” Xinhua reported.

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The DOST announced in March that it is looking at launching COVID-19 clinical trials in the Philippines, with four international partners being contacted for testing of the potential vaccine. 

Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Association of the Philippines executive director Teodoro Padilla said the vaccine could be developed earlier than what the World Organization has expected, which is in 18 months. 

COVID-19 vaccine for all and for free

World leaders earlier demanded any COVID-19 vaccine, and treatment should be free and available to everyone. 

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa and Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, together with more than 140 world leaders signed a letter insisting any COVID-19 vaccine should not be patented. 

“Governments and international partners must unite around a global guarantee which ensures that, when a safe and effective vaccine is developed, it is produced rapidly at scale and made available for all people, in all countries, free of charge,” the letter said.

The letter was a response to Sanofi CEO Paul Hudson’s remark that the US government had “the right to the largest pre-order because it’s invested in taking the risk.”

The French pharmaceutical giant Sanofi then assured its potential coronavirus vaccine would be available simultaneously worldwide, not just in the US first. 

“There will be no particular advance given to any country,” Serge Weinberg told France 2 television.

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