The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) is set to officially welcome on Friday, Aug. 13, the seven Balik Scientists who will be part of the country’s Virology and Vaccine Institute of the Philippines (VIP).
The seven Filipino virologists who were trained abroad will pay a courtesy call on DOST Secretary Fortunato “Boy” T. de la Peña on Friday.
During the meeting, the seven Balik Scientists are expected to share their expertise in the study and development of local vaccines against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and their scientific researches on virology and other diseases.
“We see our Filipino scientists as catalysts in the creation of our Virology and Vaccine Institute. We believe that their extensive experience and expertise will help us craft cutting-edge scientific research and development to fight COVID-19 and other viruses that may arise in the future,” de la Peña said.
The VIP will not study the current COVID-19, but also conduct further scientific research on virology and diseases in humans, animals, and plants.
“Our experts will be at the heart of the anatomy of the soon-to-rise VIP. The Balik Scientists who participate in the VIP projects will accelerate human resource development of our scientific community,” said DOST Undersecretary for Research and Development (R&D) Dr. Rowena Cristina L Guevara.
One of the seven Balik Scientists who will pay a courtesy call on de la Peña is Dr. Elpidio Cesar Nadala, Jr., who co-founded Diagnostics for the Real World, Ltd (DRW) in California, United States.
He is virologist and microbiologist with 20 years of experience in academic research and 17 years in the industry, developing diagnostic assays for the detection of bacterial and viral pathogens, the DOST cited.
As co-founder of the DRW, Nadala led the development of rapid diagnostic tests for the detection of Hepatitis B Virus (HBV) surface antigen, Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) antibodies, and Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) antibodies, as well as improved versions of the CE-marked Chlamydia rapid test.
The DOST said Dr. Leodevico L. Ilag, who has 25 years of solid research in discovery, preclinical and clinical development of biologics and dietary/food with applications in oncology, cardiovascular disease, CNS, infectious disease, metabolic disease, and dermatology, will also join the meeting.
“Dr. Ilag also has 25 years of international entrepreneurial biotechnology experience all around Europe, USA, Asia, and Australia.”
Other Balik Scientists who will be part of the VIP include Dr. Homer Pantua of Bio Assets Philippines and Genentech, United States; Dr. Teodoro Fajardo of UK NEOAS; Dr. Christine Lora Leyson of Southeast Poultry Research Laboratory (SEPRL), Dr. Myra Hosmillo of the University of Cambridge, and Dr. Lourdes Nadala of the Diagnostics for Real World, Ltd. (DRW).