DOH open to Russia’s plan of setting up manufacturing facility for COVID-19 vaccines in PH

Published October 9, 2020, 8:11 PM

by Analou De Vera 

The Department of Health (DOH) expressed openness to Russia’s plan of setting up a manufacturing facility for its COVID-19 vaccine in the country.

Health Assistant Secretary Maria Vergeire (Facebook)

“Isa po iyan sa tinitingnan natin sa ngayon kasama naman sa pag-uusap ang Department of Trade and Industry at saka yung iba pang ahensya ng ating gobyerno at ito po ay masusi nating pinag-aaralan [That is one of the things we are looking at right now, including the Department of Trade and Industry as well as the other agencies of our government and we are studying it carefully],” said DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire.

The Health official made the remark after DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez and Russian Ambassador to the Philippines Igor Khovaev discussed the possibility of manufacturing and distributing Russia’s COVID-19 vaccine in the Philippines. 

Vergeire said that Health Secretary Francisco Duque III also met with Khovaev recently.

“Nakipag meeting sya kay Secretary Duque and isa iyan sa pinag-usapan talaga. Hindi lang yung fill and finish na manufacturing plant meron talagang planta ng bakuna [He had a meeting with Secretary Duque and that was one of the things discussed. It’s not only the fill and finish manufacturing plant but there’s a discussion of a manufacturing plant for vaccines],” said Vergeire. 

“This will provide us with that advantage. Hindi lang dito sa pandemyang ito but in the coming years na magkakaroon tayo uli ng mga pangangailangan na ganito [This will provide us with an advantage. Not only for the current pandemic but in the coming years if ever  we will have a need like this again],” she added. 

Meanwhile, Vergeire said that  Russia’s Gamaleya Research Institute,  Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen Pharmaceuticals, and China’s Sinovac Biotech have already submitted an application for the possible conduct of Phase 3 clinical trials of their respective  vaccines here. 

Also, there are six pharmaceutical firms that have signed confidentiality disclosure agreements, which would allow the country’s own vaccine experts panel to review the results of the Phase 1 and Phase 2 clinical trials of their respective vaccines. 

These are: Gamaleye Research Institute from Russia, University of Queensland from Australia; Adimmune from Taiwan, and the Sinovac, Sinopharm and Anhui Zhifei Longcom Biopharmaceutical from China.