In a virtual press briefing on Friday, Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Director General Eric Domingo bared that Chinese company Clover Biopharmaceuticals has applied to conduct clinical trials for the COVID-19 vaccine in the Philippines and has already submitted its clinical trials data to the vaccine expert panel (VEP) for evaluation.

So far, at least three companies expressed interest in conducting Phase 3 clinical trials in the Philippines. Aside from Clover’s COVID-19 vaccine, health officials cited China’s Sinovac and Russia’s Sputnik V as candidate vaccines that could possibly see independent trials in the country.

For Russia’s COVID-19 vaccine, the VEP is still evaluating data from phases 1 and 2 of its clinical trials. As for Sinovac, the VEP has endorsed its data to the FDA.

Domingo said the agency is anticipating the submission of its application for Phase 3 trials after it gets the endorsement of the ethics board.

The FDA official reiterated that to date, no company has been given approval to conduct clinical trials in the country.

Following the reports that there have been Chinese advertisements promoting COVID-19 vaccines priced at P50,000, Domingo warned the public against it.

He added that while the Philippines and other countries are doing clinical trials, these vaccines should not be promoted in the market unless they already secured FDA approval.

“We have to remember that even though may clinical trials na kahit na nagki-clinical trials na ang produkto sa Pilipinas at sa ibang bansa, and they are not registered, they cannot be promoted in the market as safe and effective, and definitely, they cannot be sold. Ang puwede lang magamit ng madla ay ‘yung mga rehistrado lang ng FDA,” Domingo stressed.

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