Duterte thanks Russia for offer to supply COVID-19 vaccine


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: November 11, 2022 - 7:59am

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)

November 11, 2022 - 7:59am

The EU backs a Covid booster vaccine by French drug maker Sanofi and Britain's GlaxoSmithKline after it gave positive results against the Omicron variant in trials.

The approval of the "next generation" jab by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) is a shot in the arm for Sanofi and GSK, which have lagged behind rivals in offering a vaccine.

The VidPrevtyn Beta jab could be used as a booster in adults previously given mRNA jabs like the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna, or viral vector vaccines made by AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson, the EMA says.

"A booster dose of VidPrevtyn Beta is expected to be at least as effective as Comirnaty (Pfizer's vaccine) at restoring protection against Covid-19," the Amsterdam-based EMA says in a statement. — AFP

November 3, 2022 - 7:52pm

Pfizer-BioNTech says Thursday they will test a combined coronavirus and influenza vaccine, which could potentially pave the way for better inoculation uptake for both illnesses.

The companies say in a statement the mRNA-based combination vaccine candidate was set to progress to a phase one trial in the United States with 180 volunteers.  — AFP

October 27, 2022 - 12:38pm

AstraZeneca's Covid vaccine has been linked to a 30-percent higher risk of getting a very rare blood clotting condition compared to the Pfizer jab, a large international study said Thursday.

Several countries have already altered their advice after previous research indicated that -- in a tiny number of cases -- thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS) can be a possible side effect of Covid vaccines that use an adenovirus vector, or "engineered" virus, such as those from AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson.

Thrombocytopenia produces potentially life-threatening blood clots with low levels of blood platelets -- the small cell fragments in our blood that prevent bleeding.

The new study, published in the journal BMJ, was the first to compare thrombocytopenia rates between adenovirus and mRNA vaccines -- such as Pfizer -- across multiple countries. — AFP

September 30, 2022 - 2:54pm

Indonesia has approved its first locally developed Covid-19 vaccine for emergency use, the head of the country's public health agency says Friday, hailing it as a step toward "the nation's independence in access to medicine".

Jakarta has stressed the importance of developing national vaccines since the beginning of the pandemic but it currently relies on China's Sinovac and the Western-made Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech mRNA jabs.  

The IndoVac jab, developed by state-owned pharmaceutical company Bio Farma and Texas-based Baylor College of Medicine, can now be used as a primary dose for an unvaccinated or partially vaccinated adult in the world's fourth most-populous country.

"The development... of a domestic vaccine is a pride for us Indonesians as a foundation and as the first step to achieve the nation's independence in access to medicine," head of the national food and drugs agency (BPOM) Penny Lukito says at a press conference Friday. — AFP

September 9, 2022 - 3:18pm

North Korea will begin vaccinating its people against Covid-19 around November, state media said Friday, about a month after the country declared victory over the virus. 

It is the first time the isolated regime officially announced its plans for vaccination since the start of the pandemic.

"Along with responsible vaccine administration, we need to recommend that all citizens wear a mask to protect their own health starting November," leader Kim Jong Un said, according to Pyongyang's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA). 

Health experts in the country believe North Koreans' antibody levels — acquired during the epidemic which the regime confirmed in May — will decrease by October, Kim added.

Friday's KCNA report did not elaborate on where the vaccines were from. — AFP

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