MANILA –The planned allocation of funds for the Philippines’ participation in clinical trials for a vaccine against the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) will be included in the proposed 2021 budget of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), Malacañang said on Saturday.

The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID), in its Resolution 47 approved on Friday, adopted the recommendation of the sub-technical working group (TWG) on vaccine development to allow the Philippines’ participation in the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Solidarity Trial for a Covid-19 vaccine.

“Ang pag-laan ng pondo para sa partisipasyon sa mga nasabing trial [ay kasama] sa panukalang 2021 DOST budget (The allotment of the necessary funding for the participation in the said trials will be proposed in the 2021 budget of the DOST),” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said during the Laging Handa program aired on state-owned PTV-4.

The IATF-EID approved the recommendations of the sub-TWG to boost the country’s efforts to join the global action in developing a vaccine for Covid-19.

Roque said the IATF-EID also adopted the proposal to create a separate panel under the sub-TWG on vaccine development to provide technical support for local pharmaceutical companies.

On April 17, the Philippines’ participation in the WHO Solidarity Trial was approved by the Single Joint Research Ethics Board on April 17 in support of the Covid-19 global response.

The “Solidarity Trial” is an international clinical trial launched by WHO and its partners to test the safety and effectiveness of possible vaccines against Covid-19.

Since its launch, over 100 countries have joined the Solidarity Trial to evaluate the effectiveness of four drugs and drug combinations.

Four possible drugs and drug combinations that have been tested in the trial include Chloroquine or Hydroxychloroquine, Remdesivir, Lopinavir, or Ritonavir, and Lopinavir or Ritonavir with Interferon beta-1a.

WHO announced on June 17 that Hydroxychloroquine arm of the Solidarity Trial to find an effective Covid-19 treatment was being stopped following findings that it does not result in the reduction of mortality of hospitalized Covid-19 patients.

WHO, however, clarified that the decision is only applicable to the conduct of the Solidarity Trial and not to the use or evaluation of Hydroxychloroquine in pre- or post-exposure prophylaxis in patients exposed to Covid-19.

The Department of Health announced on Wednesday that a total of 288 Covid-19 patients admitted to 20 hospitals nationwide are currently participating in the WHO Solidarity Trial. (ia/PNA)