TrialSite recently announced that China’s state-owned Sinopharm recently benefited from the conditional approval of its inactivated vaccine candidate targeting COVID-19. The Chinese and the Russians have been actively using their respective vaccines as a form of diplomacy and business development, building value-added relationships and identifying new channels of medicinal economic growth. Of interest, however, recently, it was disclosed that as part of Sinopharm’s deal with the Philippines’ government, the Chinese state-owned vaccine maker would request that the Philippines finance the study or conversely accept the regulatory authority of China. The Philippines Department of Health communicated, via that nation’s Department of Science and Technology (DOST), that the Southeastern Asian nation could only finance World Health Organization studies, such as the Solidarity Trial. Some scandalous behavior surfaced recently as members of the presidential security detail apparently had access to the Sinopharm vaccine, despite the fact that the state-owned company hadn’t A) formally filed to conduct clinical trials in the Philippines and B) hadn’t moved to initiate the emergency use authorization process for the Chinese vaccine.
Apparently, a rumor was flying around the Philippines that Sinopharm, due to that Philippines response, moved to delay the clinical trials there on purpose. This would, of course, be outrageous behavior and the Philippines DOH recently renounced such rumors stating it “…categorically denies baseless accusation” and clarifying that the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) Resolution No. 39, 22 May 2020 agreed to participate.
In what appears to be a Western-facing sentiment, at least in relation to COVID-19 vaccine candidates, Teodoro Locsin, Jr., Foreign Affairs Secretary, reacted to a recent media report on ABS-CBN, emphasizing, “Okay, Pfizer then. Moderna’s offer is already in, and it is humongous. AstraZeneca’s too. So, no problem.”
As reported by ABS-CBN’s Kristine Sabillo, the Philippines FDA has shared that Sinopharm hasn’t submitted the proper paperwork yet for either clinical trials or an emergency use authorization in that nation.
Thus far, the Philippines has only processed one emergency use vaccine application: Pfizer. The U.S. company, in partnership with BioNTech, has already secured approval from the World Health Organization (WHO), and of course, the vaccine is now in use in both America and the UK.
AstraZeneca, which hasn’t filed for emergency use as of yet has inked a supplier deal both with the private sector and the Philippines government soon. Also, the DOH is purportedly now working on a confidentiality agreement with U.S.-based Moderna, reports Ms. Sabillo.
Sinopharm: A Big Player—What’s Happening?
TrialSite recently profiled Sinopharm, part of a sprawling state-owned biopharmaceutical company involved with a number of life science development efforts. As the company has been active in pursuing seeming COVID-19 “diplomacy,” this recent news out of the Philippines offers a different point of view into the unfolding COVID-19 crisis in Asia. The Philippines President was interested in the Russian Sputnik V vaccine but interestingly, in an Aug. 12 piece in “The Filipino Connection,” the author, referring to TrialSite as a “US Trials watchdog,” cautioned the Filipino people to be careful with that vaccine.