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Philippines lacks facilities to develop COVID-19 vaccine –DOST

Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Secretary Fortunato de la Peña on Tuesday said the country was not developing a COVID-19 vaccine because there were no facilities for such an effort.

In a Palace briefing, de la Peña said the Philippines was only participating in trials and negotiations to obtain the COVID-19 vaccines.

“Sa vaccine po, wala naman po tayong sariling vaccine development project dahil wala pa tayong facilities,” he said.

In June, DOST started a study on viruses in preparation for the establishment of a virology institute in the Philippines following the COVID-19 pandemic crisis.

Senator Panfilo Lacson earlier filed Senate Bill No. 1543 which would establish the Virology Science and Technology Institute of the Philippines (VIP) under the DOST.

For now, de la Peña said the country was joining the World Health Organization's (WHO's) Solidarity Trial for COVID-19 vaccines.

Aside from this, the country was also negotiating with five institutions in China, Taiwan, and Russia over their vaccine trials.

“Nag-nominate na po tayo ng isang Filipino expert, si Dr. Nina Gloriani na dating dean ng UP College of Public Health para makasama siya doon sa experts na mamimili alin ang susubukan sa WHO Solidarity Trials,” he explained.

“Kung pag-uusapan ang aming WHO Solidarity Trials at saka 'yung bilateral agreements natin sa limang pinayagan, dito po siguro, kung i-estimate natin ang pagpadadaanang proseso ay baka abutin pa tayo ng middle of 2021,” he added.

The Philippines was coordinating with the Gavi COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access (COVAX) Facility to have equitable access to the COVID-19 vaccines, De La Peña said. — DVM, GMA News