Duterte studying proposal to establish PH’s virology institute — Palace
MANILA, Philippines — President Duterte is currently reviewing the recommendation to establish a virology institute which will serve as the country’s premier research facility encompassing all areas in the study of viruses and viral diseases.
According to Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque, the recommendation is part of the government’s “long term plans” to strengthen local vaccine development, especially in the face of ongoing coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, which has already afflicted over 147,000 people nationwide.
“President Rodrigo Roa Duterte is now reviewing the recommendation to establish the Virology Science and Technology Institute of the Philippines that will serve as a premier research institute in virology and diseases to strengthen local vaccine development in the country,” Roque said in a statement Friday.
The Palace official issued the statement as he answers criticisms about the country’s supposed “plan” to just wait for more developed countries to come up with a COVID-19 vaccine, a stark contrast of some of its Southeast Asian neighbors that are actively developing their own anti-coronavirus drug.
Roque cited the existing studies the country is currently undertaking, such as the clinical trials for lagundi and tawa-tawa as supplement COVID-19 treatments.
“These trials are in addition to the melatonin, convalescent plasma, and virgin coconut oil trials,” Roque said.
He also bared that the country is currently in talks with institutions abroad for possible collaboration on vaccine development.
“The Philippines, through the DOST, has likewise joined the global action in developing a vaccine against COVID-19,” Roque said.
“We have been in touch with several institutions to collaborate on vaccine development and allow local manufacturing, if possible. Our country is part of the World Health Organization Solidarity Trials for COVID-19 treatments,” he added.
The Philippines will play host to Phase 3 of the clinical trials of Russia’s Sputnik-V vaccine from October 2020 to March 2021.
The human testing will be funded by the Russian government and will be done simultaneously in Manila and Moscow.
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