AstraZeneca withdraws clinical trials

British drugmaker AstraZeneca has withdrawn its application for clinical trials of its coronavirus vaccine in the country, according to the chief of the local Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The vaccine developer was withdrawing because “they have enough data already,” FDA Director-General Rolando Enrique D. Domingo said in a text message.

AstraZeneca was among the three clinical trial applicants approved by the ethics review board of the Science and Technology department.

The private sector, government and AstraZeneca have signed a deal for the purchase of 2.6 million doses of vaccines.

Joey A. Concepcion, presidential adviser for entrepreneurship, told an online briefing last month that half of the vaccines would be given to the private sector and the other half will be donated to the government.

The vaccines are expected to arrive in May or June next year, he said.

Four other vaccine makers are applying for clinical trials in the country.

Meanwhile, Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson and Chinese drug company Clover Biopharmaceuticals have been approved by both the expert panel and ethics committee and would now go through the FDA process, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario S. Vergeire told an online news briefing on Friday.

China’s Sinovac Biotech Ltd., the first to get approval from the expert panel, and Russia’s Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology are also applying for clinical trials in the country.

The Department of Health (DoH) reported 1,504 coronavirus infections on Friday, bringing the total to 447,039.
The death toll rose to 8,709 after eight more patients died, while recoveries increased by 273 to 409,329, it said in a bulletin.

There were 29,001 active cases, 85.8% of which were mild, 6.7% did not show symptoms, 4.8% were critical, 2.4% were severe and 0.25% were moderate.

Davao City reported the highest number of new cases at 122, followed by Rizal at 85, Quezon City at 80, Santiago City at 67 and Bulacan at 64.

DoH said five duplicates had been removed from the tally, while one recovered patient was reclassified as death. Twelve laboratories failed to submit their data on Dec. 10, it said. — Vann Marlo M. Villegas

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