Another Chinese firm undergoes review to hold COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial in PH

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 30) — A second Chinese pharmaceutical firm is undergoing review to hold a clinical trial in the Philippines for its COVID-19 vaccine, Food and Drug Administration Director General Eric Domingo said on Friday.

He said Clover Biopharmaceutical filed an application this week to conduct the third phase of its trial in the country. It is undergoing review by the vaccine experts panel from the Department of Science and Technology.

However, Clover's COVID-19 S-Trimer vaccine is still on Phase 1 of the trial to test its safety and efficacy. The country's vaccine experts panel is tasked to review findings from the Phase 1 and 2 stages.

Clover Biopharmaceutical is the fourth vaccine developer to submit a proposal. The others are Sinovac, Janssen Vaccines and Prevention B.V, and Gamaleya Research Institute.

Chinese firm Sinovac already passed the screening of the vaccine panel. It is now simultaneously undergoing the review of the FDA and ethics board. Domingo said results may be out within the next two weeks.

US-based Janssen and Russia-based Gamaleya application haven't moved from the review of the vaccine experts panel. Gamaleya, the maker of Sputnik V, was the first firm to apply for the conduct of clinical trial back in August. But its application remains stuck pending their response to the experts’ clarifications and request for additional documents.

"They were able to give preliminary data kaya lang may hinihingi pang data from the clinical trial phase 2 and I think they are also choosing for a contract research organization which I heard they already found one," he said in a media forum.

[Translation: They were able to give preliminary data but the panel asked for data from the Phase 2 clinical trial.]

The FDA official added at least seven other pharmaceutical companies have inquired about holding trials in the country, including AstraZeneca. Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said they will meet with the European drug maker.

No firm has been given the regulatory approval to hold COVID-19 vaccine trials in the country yet. Domingo said it is best to start the trials at the earliest possible time — before the COVID-19 cases in the country decline further.