Lacson on P10M ‘reward’ for COVID-19 vaccine: ‘Invest in R&D more’
MANILA, Philippines — Why not invest more in the country’s research and development?
Senator Panfilo Lacson posed this question on Thursday after President Rodrigo Duterte offered P10 million to any Filipino who can discover a vaccine for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
“While the President has made a P10-million offer to whoever can develop a vaccine for COVID-19, it would mean much more if the government invested more on research and development than the token annual average share of 0.4% from the General Appropriations Act,” Lacson said in a statement.
“How about investing more on R&D (research and development) than a token annual average share of 0.4% from the GAA (General Appropriations Act)?” he added.
The President has offered P10M to whoever can develop a vaccine for COVID-19. How about investing more on R&D than a token annual average share of 0.4% from the GAA? We only need to look at how much the most prosperous countries spend on R&D to see why we are among the laggards.
— PING LACSON (@iampinglacson) April 23, 2020
The senator has repeatedly raised the issue of the “minuscule” budget allocation for the country’s research and development which he earlier pointed out as having accounted for only 0.39 percent of the P4.1 trillion 2020 budget.
“We only need to look at how much the most prosperous countries spend on R&D to see why we are among the laggards,” Lacson went on.
“Even if we bump up the percentage to 1 or 2 percent of the national budget, it would make a major difference,” he added.
Duterte earlier said the Philippines will participate in studying a possible cure for the virus as he called for cooperation among countries in developing a vaccine.
The Philippine General Hospital (PGH) has also asked those who have recovered from COVID-19 to make convalescent plasma donations.
A vaccine to treat COVID-19 has yet to be approved but some medical professionals believe antibodies harvested in the convalescent plasma from the blood of COVID-19 survivors can help other patients recover.
Convalescent plasma therapy, while still a new study for COVID-19, has been used against infectious diseases like the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic, H1N1, measles and to some extent, Ebola.
To date, Philippine health officials have confirmed that 6,710 individuals in the Philippines have contracted COVID-19. Of this number, 693 have recovered while 446 patients have died.
Globally, the coronavirus pandemic has affected over 2,557,500 people and killed 177,660 even as 690, 600 have managed to recover. COVID-19 is caused by a new coronavirus identified as SARS-CoV-2.
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