Lacson seeks establishment of virology institute under DOST
MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Panfilo “Ping” Lacson on Wednesday filed a bill seeking the establishment of a virology institute under the Department of Science and Technology (DOST).
In his Senate Bill 1543, said that the proposed Virology Science and Technology Institute of the Philippines (VIP) — which would be under the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) — would be the country’s “premier research and development institute in virology, conducting activities and in-depth study on the viruses affecting the lives of people and resources.”
In a statement, Lacson added that the location of the proposed VIP would be in a 5-hectare lot under the Bases Conversion and Development Authority within the New Clark Economic Zone in Tarlac.
The senator added that the VIP would operate a virus gene bank, a virus genome laboratory, and a virus reference laboratory “to focus on viruses circulating in the Philippines for disease prevention and epidemiological studies,” as well as to operate a virus high containment laboratory “dedicated to the study of highly infectious and highly pathogenic viruses.”
Lacson filed the bill as the Philippines is still dealing with the impact of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, which to date has infected 15,049 people, of whom 904 have died and 3,506 have recovered.
Lacson also cited the social and economic crises caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, which, he said, had the most impact on the poor.
“These problems can only be addressed using science and technology, specifically through research and development,” Senate Bill 1543 read.
“It is therefore imperative that we establish a Research Institute that delves into the study of viruses of the field of virology,” Lacson said in the bill.
“The country needs diagnostics to detect and limit the spread of the existing viruses; vaccines to provide long-term protection; treatments to save lives in the shorter term, and social science to understand their behavioral and societal implications.”
Similarly, DOST Secretary Fortunato de la Peña also proposed for the country to have its own virology institute.
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