Russia ready to supply, invest on ‘vaccine production’ in PH

Published August 7, 2020, 10:16 PM

by Manila Bulletin

By PNA and Roy Mabasa

Moscow is ready to supply Manila and invest in the “local production” of a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine once mass production in Russia starts.

In a virtual presser on Friday, Russian Ambassador Igor Khovaev said the country has already developed an “effective and safe” vaccine, created by the Gamaleya National Research Center of Epidemiology and Microbiology.

“All necessary bureaucratic procedures in order to get an official administrative approval may be completed mid-August. After that the Russian industrial facilities will be ready to prepare all necessary conditions to launch the production of this Russian vaccine,” Khovaev said.

On the same day Russia made the offer, the Philippine government welcomed the gesture.

“The DFA conveys its appreciation for Russia’s willingness to assist the Philippines in its fight against COVID-19, as well as its offer to supply the SARS-CoV2 vaccine developed by N.F. Gamaleya of the Ministry of Health of the Russian Federation,” the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said in a statement.

DFA Assistant Secretary Eduardo Meñez said Russia’s offer has been referred to the appropriate agencies for proper assessment and evaluation.

In an online media conference, Khovaev also proposed the conduct of clinical trials and the establishment of a vaccine production site once approved by Philippine authorities.

“We don’t make promises. We make suggestions based on what we already know and what we have done,” said the Russian envoy, adding that they are just waiting for feedback from the Philippine side concerning their offer.

“The third most promoted option is local production of vaccine on the Philippine soil. It means that we are ready to combine our efforts (and) that we are ready to make necessary investments together with our Philippine partners and share our technologies,” he said.

Khovaev said the vaccine developer is the same laboratory that created a vaccine against Ebola and the Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV).

Citing Russian scientists, he said the results from clinical trials have been “promising.”

“Believe me, we don’t like risky undertakings. That’s why I’m saying again that the vaccine is effective and safe. It’s an absolute necessary pre-condition, which was articulated by Russian President (Vladimir) Putin. We are responsible people,” he said.

In a statement, the Department of Foreign Affairs conveyed its appreciation for Russia’s willingness to assist the Philippines, as well as its offer to supply the SARS-CoV-2 vaccine developed by Gamaleya.

The offer has been referred to relevant agencies for proper assessment and evaluation, it said.