Stem cell therapy for COVID pursued

Published July 24, 2020, 11:34 AM

by Genalyn Kabiling and Argyll Cyrus Geducos

As the government stays focused on the fight against the pandemic, Malacañang has lauded a local hospital for pursuing a stem cell program for the therapy of patients with the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

(Agence France-Presse / MANILA BULLETIN)

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said the government hopes Medical City’s latest stem cell program will yield positive results amid its support for various health measures to ease the suffering of the sick.

“The Palace commends The Medical City for its mesenchymal stem cell therapy program for patients with COVID-19 pneumonia,” he said in a statement Friday.

“The Duterte Administration fully supports researches and/or practices that would ease the sufferings of patients from COVID-19. We fervently pray that the aforesaid program would continue to show promising results,” he said.

Roque also assured the nation that the battle against coronavirus remains the “focus” of the government. He rallied anew the nation to follow health measures to limit the spread of the disease.

“Let us stand united in defeating this enemy so together we can heal and recover as one,” he added.

As the cases of infections continued to increase in the country, the government has pursued vaccine research and development with the help of foreign institutions.

Global vaccine access facility

As this developed, the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) has given the green light to the country’s participation in the Gavi COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access (COVAX) facility.

A fund allocation to secure access to coronavirus vaccine has been committed by the Duterte administration.

The Gavi COVAX is a mechanism designed to guarantee rapid, fair, and equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines worldwide.

It seeks to accelerate the development and manufacture of COVID vaccines and ensure a fair and equitable access for every nation in the world.

Roque said the IATF approved the participation of the Philippines in the Gavi COVAX facility, including the corresponding allocation of funds.

Gavi announced last week that 75 countries have submitted expressions of interest to protect their populations and those of other nations by joining the COVAX Facility.

The 75 countries, which will finance the vaccines from their own public finance budgets, partner with up to 90 lower-income countries that could be supported through voluntary donations to Gavi’s COVAX Advance Market Commitment (AMC).

Among the group are representatives from every continent and more than half of the world’s G20 economies.

COVAX aims to deliver two billion doses of safe and effective vaccines that have passed regulatory approval and/or World Health Organization (WHO) prequalification by the end of 2021.

In a statement, Gavi said that the vaccines will be delivered equally to all participating countries, proportional to their populations, initially prioritizing healthcare workers then expanding to cover 20 percent of the population of participating countries.

As of July 24, the country has recorded 74,390 cases of coronavirus with 1,871 deaths.


Roque said the IATF has also ratified the creation of a sub-Technical Working Group (TWG) to study the possible amendments to the Implementing Rules and Regulations of Republic Act No. 11332, the Mandatory Reporting of Notifiable Diseases and Health Events of Public Health Concern Act.

The sub-TWG will be chaired by the Department of Health. Other members include the departments of Justice (DOJ) and the Interior and Local Government (DILG); the Philippine National Police (PNP), and the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA).