THE government is now eyeing to conduct local clinical trials of new “booster” vaccines that could prevent Covid-19 infection.
In an online forum on Wednesday, Chief implementer of the government’s national policy on Covid-19 Carlito G. Galvez Jr. disclosed that during his trip to India last week he learned of the said vaccines being developed by the Serum Institute of India (SSI).
Among the vaccines is Covivax, which could further boost the immunity of those who already received existing Covid-19 vaccines that only prevent the adverse symptoms of the disease.
The boosters, Galvez said, will make their recipients immune from Covid-19 infections.
The vaccine czar noted the said SSI vaccine is currently undergoing clinical trial in Australia.
“We are interested to also have a clinical trial here so we can see [its effects], especially since we are targeting to make the nation [Covid-19] disease-free by 2022,” Galvez said.
He said the expanded local clinical trial of SSI booster vaccines may include 30,000 to 40,000 subjects.
Local vaccine production
Aside from possible access to the booster vaccine, the government is also considering a cooperation with SSI to help the country develop and manufacture its own vaccines.
“India is willing to cooperate with us since 60 percent of the vaccines brought here are from India through the Unicef [United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund],” Galvez said.
Currently, a Korean vaccine maker is offering to put up a plant in the country if it will purchase 40 million doses of its Covid-19 vaccine.
Galvez said they are still reviewing the offer from the said company and the technology it will bring to the country.
The government is considering the local development and manufacturing of vaccines to address its needs for the current and future pandemics.
However, members of the private sector expressed concern over the country’s readiness for vaccine manufacturing since there are still no existing laws and regulations, which will be on a par with that from other countries.
Galvez said the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine has already submitted a plan for vaccine development through the expansion of its research and development capabilities.