Russian envoy urges PH to apply for RDIF to enable Sputnik V vaccination
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines may apply for the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) to enable at least a part of the country’s population to get inoculated with Sputnik V, the Covid-19 vaccine developed by Russia, a diplomat of the Russian Federation Embassy said Wednesday.
Russian Direct Investment Fund is described in its website as Russia’s sovereign wealth fund with reserved capital $10 billion under management. Sputnik V’s official website said the RDIF mechanism “make(s) equity co-investments, primarily in Russia, alongside reputable international financial and strategic investors.”
During a House people’s participation meeting, Vladlen Epifanov, who is minister-counselor and deputy chief of Mission of the Russian Federation Embassy, said that through the RDIF, the Russian vaccine is now being used in 29 countries, and is being manufactured in other countries such as South Korea and Brazil, among others.
Epifanov added that should the RDIF be approved this February, the first doses of the vaccine may arrive in April.
House Committee on People’s Participation chaired by Rep. Florida Robes said “we are favored with the readiness of the RDIF, and the Russian government in general, to start the Russian coronavirus vaccine supplies to the Philippines immediately after the national regulator gives its approval for emergency use.” Robes have been conducting a series of meetings on the development of vaccine since last year in an effort to bring the vaccine to the country.
Earlier, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) asked help from Russian embassy to expedite the grant of the emergency use authorization (EUA) for the Sputnik-V Covid-19 vaccine of the Gamaleya Research Institute.
FDA director-general Eric Domingo said that Gamaleya’s EUA application for Sputnik-V remains pending in the Philippines and that the Russian embassy can provide an authorization letter that will assure the FDA that Gamaleya’s local representatives in the Philippines can sign the documents needed for the EUA application which would speed up the application process.
Aside from this, Domingo said that the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) vaccine panel is also conducting some fine-tuning on whether the Sputnik V vaccine, which he said uses the adenovirus 5 as vectors as expressions for the severe Covid-19 protein, may have lower efficacy since many Filipinos have become infected with adenovirus 5 in the past.
“The DOST would want to know since many Filipinos have had this Adenovirus 5 and whether we already have antibodies to it because it is possible that if Filipinos have had it, the efficacy will be lowered. But its efficacy is still very high at 90 percent and above. There is just fine-tuning,” he said.
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