GOVERNMENT officials were set to meet with the maker of the Russian coronavirus vaccine on Wednesday to discuss how clinical trials can be started in the Philippines, Health authorities said.
“Let’s see what will result from the talks between Gamaleya and the Department of Science and Technology (DoST),” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario S. Vergeire told an online news briefing on Wednesday.
The Russian vaccine is in the third phase of clinical trials, she said.
Ms. Vergeire said all clinical trials must be approved by the Food and Drug Administration and the Health department’s ethics board.
The Russian vaccine must be approved by local regulators even if it passes in Russia, she said.
“Whether or not we could actually use it will depend on compliance with our existing laws,” Presidential Spokesman Harry L. Roque told CNN Philippines.
Local Universities will also conduct clinical studies to check if the vaccine is harmless, he added.
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday said his country had developed the first vaccine for the COVID-19 virus.
Critics have questioned the safety of the experimental vaccine since vaccines take years to develop.
President Rodrigo R. Duterte in a speech on Monday evening said Russia had offered to give the Philippines COVID-19 vaccines, adding that he would volunteer to get injected in public.
He thanked Russia for supposedly offering to send the vaccines to the Philippines free of charge.
He said the Russian vaccines could arrive by September or October.
The Department of Health (DoH) on Monday said it had allotted P2.4 billion for COVID-19 vaccines in its budget for 2021 and this could change depending on the price.
China is the other country Mr. Duterte mentioned in the past that had pledged to prioritize the Philippines for coronavirus vaccine supplies once they develop one.
Meanwhile, four Philippines hospitals will join the trial for the Japanese flu drug Avigan as treatment for coronavirus, Ms. Vergeire told a separate news briefing.
These are the Philippine General Hospital, Sta. Ana Hospital, Dr. Jose N. Rodriguez Memorial Hospital and Quirino Memorial and Medical Center.
The trials would run for nine months,” she said at an online briefing, adding that the government had taken delivery of the drugs.
She earlier said the trial for Avigan would start on Aug. 17. The drug will be given to a hundred patients aged 18 to 74.
Patients who will participate must agree with the use of contraceptive and have no kidney and heart problems, among other requirements, she said.
Japan in April said it would send the drug manufactured by Fujifilm Toyama Chemical Co., Ltd. to 38 countries, including the Philippines after clinical trials. — Vann Marlo M. Villegas and Gillian M. Cortez