Duterte thanks Russia for offer to supply COVID-19 vaccine

(Philstar.com) - August 11, 2020 - 12:09am

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte thanked Russia late Monday night for an offer to supply a COVID-19 vaccine once it becomes available.

Duterte has repeatedly said that Filipinos will need to cooperate with authorities enforcing quarantine protocols and bear the effects of the pandemic until a vaccine is developed.

He said he was very happy that Russia would supply the vaccine "and they are not talking about any payment."

"Ito tingin ko kay President (Vladimir) Putin, tulong niya sa atin ng libre (I view this as President Putin's help to us for free)," he said.

He said he and Putin would still discuss the details of the clinical trial for the vaccine.

"Well, mag-injection muna tayo ng iilan tapos tingnan natin ang resulta (We will inject it in some people and we will look at the results)," he said.

The president also tasked Health Secretary Francisco Duque III "to look for the best guy to be given the [task of handling] the transfer of tehcnology of the vaccine."

Russian Ambassador to the Philippines Igor Khovaev is quoted in news reports as saying over the weekend that Russia has developed a safe and effective vaccine against COVID-19 and is only waiting for the Philippines to accept its offer.

He also said that the applications have been filed at the Philippine Food and Drug Administration.

"It means that we are ready to combine our efforts, we are ready to make necessary investments together with our Philippine partners and we are ready to share our technologies simply because we want to build a robust partnership between our two nations," he also reportedly said.

"May tiwala ako na di sila nagkamali... Kung puwede sa akin, puwede sa lahat. Kung hindi puwede sa akin, 'yan ang problema," Duterte said Monday, claiming he would be the first to test the vaccine. 

(I trust that they have not made a mistake. If it works on me, it will work on all. If it doesn't work on me, then that is a problem)

The president also said that the vaccine will be "distributed worldwide by September or October."

According to guidelines on clinical trials set by the US Food and Drug Administration, Phase 1 of clinical trials usually involve 20 to 100 volunteers and last for "several months."

Phase 2 will involve "up to several hundred people with the disease [or] condition" and can last between several months to two years.

Phase 3 clinical trials involve "300 to 3,000 volunteers who have the disease or condition" and can take from a year to four years.

Phase 4 trials, which test for safety and efficacy, involve "several thousand volunteers."

As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: May 12, 2021 - 10:59am

Pharma giants Sanofi and GSK said on July 29, 2020, that they have agreed to supply Britain with up to 60 million doses of a potential COVID-19 vaccine. The agreement covers a vaccine candidate developed by France's Sanofi in partnership with the UK's GSK and is subject to a "final contract."

This thread collects some of the major developments in the search for a vaccine to ease the new coronavirus pandemic. (Main photo by AFP/Joel Saget)

May 12, 2021 - 10:59am

Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and other Brazilian states suspend immunization of pregnant women with the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine on the advice of the national health regulator after a reported death.

The suspension was to remain in place until the health ministry establishes the cause of death of a woman in Rio de Janeiro who received the vaccine, Health Minister Marcelo Queiroga tells a news conference.

Queiroga says the call was made by a team of experts and was based "exclusively on technical criteria." — AFP

May 12, 2021 - 7:50am

Brazil will begin vaccinating Olympic athletes and other members of its Tokyo-bound delegation against COVID-19 this week, officials said Tuesday.

The hard-hit South American country is struggling to secure enough vaccines for its 212 million people, but will be able to immunize its Olympians thanks to donated doses from pharmaceutical companies, health officials said.

Health Minister Marcelo Queiroga told a news conference that 1,814 members of the delegation would be vaccinated starting Wednesday, including Olympic and Paralympic athletes, coaches, staff members and journalists traveling to the Games.

"The doses will be donated by pharmaceutical companies so that (the program) will not affect our national immunization campaign," he said.

Pfizer is expected to donate 4,050 doses of its vaccine and Chinese lab Sinovac 8,000, officials said. — AFP

May 11, 2021 - 9:57am

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Monday authorized the use of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine for children aged 12 to 15 years old.

"This is a promising development in our fight against the virus," said President Joe Biden.

"If you are a parent who wants to protect your child, or a teenager who is interested in getting vaccinated, today's decision is a step closer to that goal."

The FDA previously granted an emergency use authorization for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to individuals aged 16 and older. — AFP

May 10, 2021 - 8:01pm

German firm BioNTech says Monday that the Covid-19 vaccine it developed with Pfizer does not require any modifications at the moment to protect against variants of the virus.

"To date, there is no evidence that an adaptation of BioNTech's current Covid-19 vaccine against key identified emerging variants is necessary," the company says in a statement.

Nevertheless, in preparations for a need at some point to make tweaks to its current vaccine, the company says it began tests in March on a "modified, variant-specific version" of its jabs. —  AFP

May 8, 2021 - 6:23pm

The EU has concluded a deal with BioNTech/Pfizer for up to 1.8 billion extra doses of its COVID-19 vaccine, European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen says on Saturday.

"Happy to announce that the EU Commission has just approved a contract for guaranteed 900 million doses (+900 million options) with BioNTech/Pfizer for 2021-2023," she tweets from an EU summit in Portugal.

"Other contracts and other vaccine technologies will follow," she promises. — AFP

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