The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) has nominated Dr. Nina Gloriani, Professor Emeritus at the University of the Philippines-Manila, as representative in the World Health Organization’s (WHO) COVID-19 candidate vaccine prioritization working group, which aims to identify vaccines to be included in the upcoming WHO Solidarity Vaccine Trials.
DOST Secretary Fortunato dela Pena said this during his weekly report adding the DOST Vaccine Expert Panel, created to assist the sub-technical working group (TWG) on Vaccine Trials, chaired also by the DOST, is continuously holding meetings with companies willing to conduct clinical trials in the Philippines.
Meanwhile, the DOST also briefed the House of Representatives (HOR) Committees on Science and Technology, Health and the Defeat COVID-19 Ad-Hoc Committee (DCC) on the proposed Virology bill during their joint online meeting.
“It was DOST which initiated the proposal on the Virology Science and Technology Institute of the Philippines or VIP at ito po naman ay ini-sponsor ng ilang mga kongresista sa ating House of Representatives at ilang senador sa ating Senate (and this was sponsored by some members of the House of Representatives and senators),” Secretary de la Pena said.
The bill’s authors are representatives Joey Salceda, Cheryl Deloso-Montalia, Angelina “Helen” Tan, Strike Revilla, Angelo Marcos Barba, and Leonardo Babasa, Jr.
The secretary presented the salient features of the bill that seeks to establish the Virology Science and Technology Institute of the Philippines (VIP) under the DOST.
The VIP is envisioned to serve as the premier R&D institute in the field of virology whose objectives include conducting research on viruses using a modern approach such as molecular biology and its application or biotechnology, and development of diagnostics, vaccines, and therapeutics.
He highlighted the importance of the VIP in the light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and in addressing other current and emerging viral diseases that are affecting humans, plants and animals.
Also at the meeting were representatives from the Food and Drug Administration, Research Institute for Tropical Medicine, UP-National Institutes of Health, National Academy of Science and Technology, Philippine Society for Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, and the National Research Council of the Philippines.