BY ADRIAN P. NEMES III
Janssen, owned by American multi-national corporation Johnson & Johnson (J&J), is looking for at least 500 volunteers for the third phase of the clinical trial for its coronavirus disease 2019 vaccine in Bacolod City.
Dr. Adonis Guancia, principal investigator of J&J’s clinical trial in Bacolod, said the Emergency Operations Center is in charge of listing the volunteers for the trial.
Guancia said EOC-TF executive director Em Ang told him that the volunteers should come from Bacolod barangays with high numbers of Covid cases.
He said the trial will run until Feb. 28 but there is a possibility that this will be extended until March 15.
Guancia also said they will accept individuals with illnesses, such as high blood pressure, cancer, and diabetes, among others, as volunteers as long as they are 40 years old and above.
The Riverside Medical Center Inc. was chosen as site for the clinical trial, with about 22 to 30 individuals expected to participate daily.
Asked if there is a stipend for volunteers, Guancia said he could not divulge such information because of the existing confidentiality agreement with Janssen and RMC Inc.
Earlier, J&J announced that it targets 1,000 to 3,000 recruits to take part in their phase three clinical trial in the Philippines.
OTHER AREAS, TOO
Aside from Bacolod, Janssen is also set to conduct trials in La Paz District in Iloilo, Metro Manila, Cabuyao and San Pablo cities in Laguna.
Guancia said the vaccines for the clinical trial already arrived in the Philippines but not yet delivered to Bacolod, contrary to earlier reports.
He stressed that the Janssen Covid vaccine is safe, considering that the firm has a good track record of having developed vaccines for different diseases, like Ebola and the earlier variants of SarsCov.
Ang said that the randomized, place-controlled clinical trial is designed to evaluate the safety and efficacy of the vaccine in at least 500 adults, 40 years old and older, including significant representation from those who have comorbidities.
She said the trials mark the first for a Covid-19 vaccine in the Philippines and would allow the Philippines to contribute to worldwide knowledge on the development of a vaccine against the newly-discovered virus that has already killed more than two million people worldwide.
Ang added that the trials will also help scientists and medical experts confirm the effects of the vaccine on Filipinos. The Food and Drug Administration approved the Covid vaccine clinical trial application of Janssen in the country last month.*