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Philippines assured by WHO of equitable share in COVID-19 vaccine once available

The World Health Organization (WHO) has assured the Philippines of an equitable share of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccine once it is discovered, the the chief of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said on Wednesday.

Health Undersecretary Eric Domingo made the statement amid reports that the United States and Europe have already placed orders for a COVID-19 vaccine.

“‘Yung WHO, ni-reassure nila tayo last week na gumagawa sila ng mechanism para ‘yung mga countries na sasali doon, matulungan tayo na magkaroon ng equitable distribution ng vaccines,” Domingo said of countries who participated in the COVID-19 vaccine trials.

“Ang WHO mismo, meron siyang inisyatibo para magkaroon tayong lahat ng access, lahat ng iba ibang bansa sa iba ibang parte ng mundo,” he added.

Domingo said there were now 163 candidate vaccines being explored worldwide, 140 of which are in the pre-clinical studies stage while 23 are undergoing the three-phase clinical trials.

“Hindi naman lahat ‘yan magsa-succeed. Ang average natin, siguro 7 to 8 percent ng mga candidate vaccines ay nagiging bakuna talaga," Domingo said.

"Maganda na ‘yun kung magkakaroon tayo ng sampung bakunang made-develop para ma-deploy sa buong mundo,” he added.

Two vaccines are already in Phase 3 of the clinical trials where coverage is expanded to up to 3,000 people—those created by the University of Oxford in London and China’s Sinovac Biotech firm.

Meanwhile, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said Japan has reached out to the Department of Health to increase the sample size for the Avigan drug trial in the Philippines.

Avigan, an influenza drug, is being studied as a cure for mild to moderate COVID-19 cases.

Domingo said one Avigan clinical trial has been approved by the FDA.

The Philippines has logged 58,850 COVID-19 cases with 20,976 recoveries and 1,614 deaths as of Wednesday afternoon. -NB, GMA News