IATF’s Vaccine Development group gears up for vaccine trials in the Philippines

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The Inter-Agency Task Force’s (IATF) Sub-Technical Working Group (sub-TWG) on COVID-19 Vaccine Development led by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) together with other government agencies is gearing up for the conduct COVID-19 vaccine phase 3 clinical trials in the country which are set to begin this coming November.

The DOST chairs the sub-TWG on COVID-19 vaccine development which includes other government agencies such as the Department of Health (DOH), the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI). Other members of the sub-TWG include the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Research for Tropical Medicine, both of which are under the DOH; and, the National Development Company (NDC) under the DTI.

On the other hand, the responsibilities of other agencies involved in the conduct of these trials are as follows:

  • The DFA coordinates bilateral partnerships related to the vaccine trials and partners with the DTI and the NDC for the possibility of manufacturing the vaccines locally in partnership with the pharmaceutical companies.
  • The DOH, the vice chair of the sub-TWG, will oversee the hospitals joining the clinical trials and will manage the operations and logistics of the clinical trials. The DOH will also lead in the communication campaign for the vaccine clinical trials to be conducted.
  • The FDA will monitor the entities approved to conduct clinical trials. It will also approve vaccines that will be released and sold to the public.

All applications for clinical trials to be conducted here in the country are submitted to the sub-TWG for Vaccine Development and pertinent documents are reviewed by the Vaccine Expert Panel (VEP) and the Ethics Review Committees. These bodies are composed of vaccine experts, technical experts, and scientists who will identify, evaluate, and recommend possible vaccine candidates for the Philippines.

After thorough review of the clinical trial applications, these will be submitted to the FDA for final pass. The vaccine trials may begin upon the FDA’s regulatory review and approval of the conduct of the clinical trials.

“The responsibilities of each agency under the Sub-TWG on Vaccine Development are clear. I am confident that all agencies involved in vaccine development will work tirelessly in carrying out each individual responsibility. We also recognize the exigency of these vaccine trials given our ongoing situation. This is why in the conduct of these trials, we will work together tirelessly and move expeditiously, of course while always placing primacy on the safety of our clinical trial participants,” Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque III said.

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