A SENIOR Senator queried the Bureau of Animal Industry’s (BAI) decision to allow a vaccine supplier to play a role in testing a Vietnam-sourced vaccine designed to protect hogs against African Swine Fever (ASF).
Senator Cynthia A. Villar, who chairs the chamber’s agriculture panel, questioned at a joint committee hearing the role of vaccine supplier KPP Powers Commodities, Inc. in the trials.
On June 2, the BAI reported that field trials for the ASF vaccine were successful. Assistant Director Arlyn Vytiaco told the joint panel that the trials were conducted at six farms in Luzon.
BAI Director Paul C. Limson also told the hearing that “our role is to monitor the field trial being conducted, We were not the actual ones conducting (the trial).”
Ms. Villar said that BAI should have been in charge of carrying out the trials, citing the risk of “bias” if an outside party plays a role in the vaccine tests.
Reynaldo Robles, lawyer and spokesman for KPP Powers, said the company supplied the vaccines to independent farms who conducted the trials.
“The one in charge of getting samples is the farm owner (who) gives it to BAI,” which was in charge of testing the impact of the vaccine on the hogs, he said.
Food and Drug Administration Director-General Samuel A. Zacate said the agency issued an authorization to import 300,000 doses of the ASF vaccine for field trials, at the BAI’s request.
Ms. Villar said non-government entities should play no part in vaccine trials.
Vietnam approved the commercial use of the vaccine only in July. According to media reports, Vietnam is set to ship vaccines to the Philippines this month.
Samahang Industriya ng Agrikultura Executive Director Jayson H. Cainglet said the testing of vaccines should not be rushed.
“We should have learned from our COVID experience,” he told the panel, noting that the Philippines waited for a long time to obtain COVID-19 vaccines approved by the World Health Organization.
“It’s very simple. This should not have been rushed,” Mr. Cainglet said. — Beatriz Marie D. Cruz