Philippines Likely to Join Russia Vaccine Trials Later This Year

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Philippine vaccine czar Carlito Galvez said the nation is still likely to join final-stage human trials for Russia’s Covid-19 shot this year, which developers said Wednesday has 92% efficacy rate in preventing infections.

The developer of the Sputnik V vaccine -- which has already started Phase 3 human trials and which the Philippines was expected to join in October -- is already in talks with a local clinical research organization so that the tests can start once approved by the country’s Food and Drug Administration, Philippine Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said at a briefing with Galvez on Wednesday.

The Russian vaccine has a 92% efficacy in preventing infections, its developers said Wednesday, citing initial Phase 3 trial results. Scientists and pharmaceutical companies have voiced skepticism and say more testing is needed to prove Russia’s vaccine is safe and effective.

An application by China’s Sinovac Biotech Ltd. to run vaccine trials is also still being evaluated by an ethics board and needs “two clarifying documents,” Vergeire said.

Aside from China and Russia, other countries that indicated will supply and donate vaccines to the Philippines are Australia, Germany, Israel, Singapore, and the U.K. and U.S., Galvez said.

Galvez said he hopes to reach an agreement with at least four countries this month and get clearance from President Rodrigo Duterte to make partial advance payments to procure vaccines quickly once supply becomes available in the second quarter.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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