The Department of Science and Technology – Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (DOST-PCHRD) expressed openness Monday., Feb. 22 to the development of a yeast-based COVID-19 vaccine by a Filipino-American molecular biologist and priest.
DOST-PCHRD Executive Director Dr. Jaime C. Montoya said they will get in touch with Fr. Nicanor Pier Giorgo Austriaco to discuss the ongoing development of a yeast-based oral vaccine.
“Hindi pa po sya nakikipag-ugnayan sa amin pero kami naman po ay bukas ang aming opisina, ang aming Council ay bukas para pagusapan ito (He has not yet coordinated with us, but we are open, our Office, our Council is open to discuss this),” he said during the “Laging Handa” briefing.
“Kami ay makikipagatalastasan kay Fr Austriaco para pag-usapan ito (We will get in touch with Fr. Austriaco to discuss this).”
Montoya welcomed the efforts of Austriaco, a visiting Professor of Biological Sciences at the University of the Santo Tomas (UST), to develop yeast-based COVID-19 vaccine.
“Magandang balita po ito dahil ibig sabihin po tayong mga Pilipino ay tumutulong din para makadiskubre ng mga bagong bakuna at hindi lang tayo umaasa sa mga bakuna na manggaling sa ibang bansa. (This is a good news because it means that Filipinos are helping out to discover a new vaccine and we are not just relying on vaccines coming from other countries.),” he said.
At the sidelines of the 121st Plenary Assembly of Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) held in late January, Austriaco said they “are working on a yeast-based oral vaccine” to offer a cheaper alternative for the Filipinos.
He said the yeast-based vaccine “will be cheaper and can be transported without refrigeration.”