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Palace: COVID-free Christmas still a possibility

Malacañang on Thursday expressed hope that the COVID-19 pandemic can be contained by the end of the year as countries race to develop a vaccine to curb the spread of the virus that has infected millions of people worldwide.

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said aside from Russia, which announced the approval of a vaccine on Tuesday, other countries such as the United States, United Kingdom, and China have vaccine programs that are already in the final testing stages.

“Puwede po [ang COVID-free December] dahil ang alam ko po ‘yung sa Tsina, sa Oxford [University] at sa Amerika nasa third phase na po sila ng clinical trial,” he said in a televised briefing.

Roque issued the statement following the government’s admission that the Sputnik V vaccine, which was developed by Russia’s Gamaleya National Research Center for Epidemiology and Microbiology, could be administered to President Rodrigo Duterte in May 2021.

“Ito naman pong Gamaleya vaccine is only one. Marami na pong mga vaccine na nasa third phase na of clinical trials so baka naman po merong mauna pa dahil ito pong Gamaleya ay sisimulan pa lang ang third phase,” he said.

Duterte earlier said that he hoped for a “COVID-free December” so that everyone can enjoy the Christmas season, citing the development of the Russian vaccine.

However, Sputnik V will still go through phase 3 clinical trials in the Philippines and approval process before the Food and Drug Administration.

The World Health Organization (WHO) on Tuesday said it wants to review the safety and efficacy data of the Russian vaccine.

A total of 168 candidate vaccines are being worked on across the globe, the WHO said.

It said 28 have progressed to the various phases of being tested on humans, of which six are the furthest ahead, having reached phase 3 of clinical trials. —AOL, GMA News