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Pfizer won't conduct clinical trials of potential anti-COVID-19 vaccine in Philippines, says DOH

Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer will not conduct its clinical trials on possible vaccine against COVID-19 in the Philippines, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said Monday.

“Walang commitment na nangyayari pa. We just explained regulatory processes, our point person here if they need anything in gearing up for the vaccine,” Vergeire said in an online forum, referring to the recent meeting between Department of Heath officials and representatives from Pfizer.

“Hindi sila gagawa ng clinical trial rito sa Pilipinas because they are way advanced already in the Phase 3 of their clinical trials. By end of October, matatapos na nila ang Phase 3 ng kanilang clinical trials,” Vergeire added.

Vergeire said that the two parties are also working on a confidentiality disclosure agreement (CDA) which is necessary before Pfizer gives the Philippines access to the vaccines that it is developing to combat COVID-19.

“We are still coordinating on how we can pre-oder this vaccine, kung paano natin ito gagawin, given na may limitasyon rin ang pre-order because of RA 9184 (Procurement law),” Vergeire pointed out.

“Once we finish the CDA, we will meet again,” she added.

Vergeire, however, said that the development of a vaccine against COVID-19 has a long way to go even if Pfizer is in advance stages of its Phase 3 of clinical trials.

“Ang clinical trials could last as long as six months, so we need to temper our expectations. At kahit may bakuna na, we still have to see if it is going to be effective in producing antibodies that can protect us people from coronavirus,” Vergeire said.

The Philippines has recorded 237,365 COVID-19 cases as of Sunday, September 6. Of this number, 184,687 recovered while 3,875 died.

The number of active cases is at 48,803. --KBK, GMA News