DOST: No COVID-19 vaccine being developed in PH
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines will have to rely on other countries for a vaccine against the coronavirus disease 2019 as it cannot develop its own at present.
The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) admitted on Wednesday that the country neither has the research facility nor the resources to develop a vaccine.
“Currently, we do not have the research facility to undertake the research in developing the vaccine,” DOST Undersecretary Rowena Guevarra said in an online media forum.
DOST Council for Health Research and Development Executive Director Jaime Montoya reasoned that the Philippines still has to upgrade and enhance facilities in order to develop a vaccine.
Developing a vaccine likewise “requires huge investments and resources.”
“We do admit that we still have a lot of things to upgrade and enhance in order to attain this degree of ability to manufacture vaccines,” he said in the same media forum.
He added that research and development for vaccine manufacturing require significant scientific talent, planning, infrastructure, and capacity building for “state of the art” laboratory facilities.
“I assure the public that the government is already doing a lot of negotiations and discussions and plans in order to achieve some degree of vaccine self-sufficiency,” Montoya said.
As for a vaccine for COVID-19, the Department of Health earlier revealed that the Philippines is currently in talks with 16 vaccine manufacturers worldwide, including Russia and China.
Among the vaccines the Philippines will try is Sputnik V from Russia. The country will conduct Phase 3 of clinical trials of Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine from October 2020 to March 2021.
The human testing phase will be funded by the Russian government and will be done simultaneously in Manila and Moscow.
READ: Phase 3 clinical trials of Russian COVID-19 vaccine in PH set from Oct. 2020 to March 2021
The country also joined COVAX Facility, a mechanism designed to guarantee rapid, fair, and equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines worldwide.
The Philippines is likewise part of the World Health Organization’s Solidarity Trial for different COVID-19 treatment.
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