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DOST calls for 15K participants in WHO Solidarity Trial for COVID-19 vaccines

The Department of Science and Technology on Friday said it is scouting for 15,000 participants for the World Health Organization's Solidarity Trial of COVID-19 vaccines which will start by the end of January or in February.

The number of target participants was increased from the initial 4,000 to 15,000 in order to align with the WHO's goal of conducting "rapid, community-based enrollment in hotspot areas," according to DOST Undersecretary Rowena Guevara.

"Nakahingi po tayo ng additional funding na P384.4 million para magawa natin ang for 15,000," she said, noting that the initial DOST budget was P89.1 million.

The WHO Solidarity Trial will be conducted in Metro Manila where almost half of the over 482,000 COVID-19 cases nationwide were reported.

"Ang WHO Solidarity Trial ay dito po sa NCR iko-conduct. Ang hiling po namin, sana po 'yung mga lugar kung saan gaganapin itong WHO Solidarity Trial, sana po mag-participate at mag-volunteer po ang ating mga  kababayan," Guevara said.

"Hindi po ito immunization, clinical trial po ito," she added.

The recruitment and registration of participants will be at the local level in barangays which will be chosen as trial sites.

The DOST official assured that a data and safety monitoring committee was created to ensure that the 15,000 participants will be monitored for any adverse reactions.

The WHO has yet to identify which brand of COVID-19 vaccines would be used. The DOST is still waiting for the release of protocol for the trial, according to Guevara.—AOL, GMA News