BY ADRIAN P NEMES III
Johnson & Johnson (J&J), an American multi-national corporation, is set to conduct the third phase of the clinical trial for its coronavirus disease 2019 vaccine in Bacolod City this week.
Dr. Adonis Guancia, principal investigator of J&J’s clinical trial in Bacolod, confirmed to the DAILY STAR that the vaccines to be used for the trial already arrived last week.
Once Riverside Medical Center Inc. president and chief executive officer, Genesis Goldi Golingan, sign the agreement, the clinical trial will start, he said.
RMC Inc. was chosen to be the site for the clinical trial, with about 30 individuals expected to participate daily.
J&J targets 1,000 to 3,000 recruits to take part in the trial and Bacolod is considered a high recruitment site.
The firm will conduct clinical testing in the United States, China, Europe, and other parts of Asia, while in the Philippines, there are five sites identified, to include Iloilo and Bacolod in the Western Visayas region.
Guancia said he will suggest that once the clinical trial begins, they will let the City Emergency Operations Center choose who will participate.
But those who will be chosen must be screened before allowing them to receive the vaccines, he said.
Dr. Chris Sorongon, EOC deputy for medical and data analysis, said earlier that they will prioritize frontliners and those who will volunteer to undergo the trial.
In their website, J&J explained that the clinical trial will be done to determine the safety and efficacy of their vaccine against Covid-19.
It added that recruits should be above 18 years old, of good health condition, and have not received other Covid-19 vaccines.
Guancia said J&J may also allow those who are health compromised to join the trial, probably in March this year when the result of the testing conducted on healthy individuals, have been released.
Asked if the vaccine is safe, Guancia said it is, considering that J&J has a good track record of having developed vaccines for different diseases, like Ebola and the earlier variants of SarsCov.
The Food and Drug Administration approved the Covid vaccine clinical trial application of Janssen, which is owned by Johnson & Johnson, in the country last month.
However, the FDA has not yet issued Emergency Use Authorization to any pharmaceutical firms for the use of Covid vaccines.
MORE SURVEILLANCE TESTING
Bacolod City residents can also expect more surveillance testing against Covid in the coming days.
This is because the international company, Marsman Drysdale Medical Product Inc. based in the United States, has allowed the City to access their IgG Assay testing apparatus, City Administrator Em Ang said.
Ang, who is the executive director of EOC, said that about 3,000 Bacolod residents will be tested, with health workers, the police, and other frontliners as priorities.
The apparatus already arrived last week and the training of medical technologists, who will handle the surveillance testing, will end tomorrow.
Surveillance testing is done to gauge the prevalence of the disease within a community or a particular group. Among those who underwent surveillance testing last year were 2,000 market vendors, 478 contact tracers, 600 food delivery drivers, and policemen, while various companies also sponsored surveillance testing on their employees.*