Philippines

Residents of QC, other cities eyed for Russian vaccine trials

Russia may need 1,000 volunteers living in coronavirus-hit areas in the country for its upcoming clinical trials of the potential vaccine, according to Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles.

Nograles said residents of Quezon City and other cities in Metro Manila may qualify for the clinical studies since they belong to communities with local transmission.

“Ang alam ko, they are looking for 1,000 volunteers so it will be purely voluntary. They have to be in community na may local transmission and so with that, I think some of the residents of QC might qualify for that,” he said over ABS-CBN News Channel Friday.

“But again it’s on a voluntary basis but if they are looking for areas na may local transmission, then QC and other Metro Manila  cities would be candidates for that,” said Nograles, co-chairman of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Infectious Diseases (IATF), the government’s policy making board on the country’s coronavirus response.

According to Nograles, Russia would likely conduct random selection from the pool of volunteers.

“If I were to assume how they’re gonna do it, they would probably look into which cities have local transmissions and then from there, do a randomized pagpili or something to that effect,” he said. “I think necessarily may mga Quezon City residents who will be asked to join the clinical trials,” he added.

Russia recently announced it has developed a coronavirus vaccine and approved its limited use for health workers and other risk groups.

The approval of the vaccine, developed by the Gamaleya Research Institute in Moscow, however sparked safety concerns from some groups amid reports it has yet to finish phase 3 trials.

Russia has expressed willingness to supply vaccines to the Philippines, which President Duterte has welcomed. Manila has agreed to cooperate with Moscow on the clinical trials, production and supply of the vaccine.

On Thursday, Malacañang said the President may be injected with the Russian-made coronavirus vaccine as early as May 2021.

Duterte recently volunteered to participate in the vaccine trials as a supposed gesture of trust and confidence.

The clinical trial phase three will be simultaneously conducted in the Philippines and Russia from October 2020 to March 2021. Russia is expected to fund the vaccine studies, according to the Palace. (Genalyn Kabiling)

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