Bong Go: Virology institute to help PH prepare for future public health emergencies 

Senator Christopher “Bong” Go said he is confident that the creation of the Philippine’s own Virology Science and Technology Institute would help the country prepare and be one-step ahead of future public health emergencies.

Go has refiled the bill proposing the establishment of the Virology Science and Technology Institute of the Philippines as part of his priority legislative agenda for the 19th Congress.

"As the COVID-19 virus continues to threaten our health and safety, we should use this time to consider the experiences and lessons we learned, re-evaluate our capabilities, improve our efforts and consider new legislative solutions that will strengthen our response to future public health emergencies,” Go said ina statement.

“Having seen how good science helped and continues to help us combat the present pandemic, I remain hopeful that our colleagues in government will be more convinced of the necessity of this institute. I will definitely push again for its approval this time,” the senator stressed.

Go is set to chair the Senate Committee on Health and Demography again in the 19th Congress. 

The measure primarily seeks to establish the VIP to also boost the country's ability to develop vaccines against highly pathogenic emerging viruses. 

Go noted the last two years spent battling the Covid-19 pandemic has exposed the country’s inability to produce its own vaccines.

The proposed VIP will serve as the principal laboratory of the country in providing virology laboratory investigations, research, and technical coordination of the entire network of virology laboratories nationwide. 

It will also provide guidelines for the establishment and operation of testing, reference and biosafety Levels 1, 2, 3 and 4 research laboratories throughout the country.

“My bill aims to establish a reliable national virology laboratory that shall play a critical role in surveillance, diagnosis and monitoring of viral diseases humans, plants and animals as well as in the understanding of the genetic changes in their viral genome as a prerequisite for a strong public health response to emerging, re-emerging and existing viral diseases in order to raise the level of health of the Filipino and improve their social, economic and cultural conditions,” Go stressed.

“The overall goal of the VIP is to help develop vaccines against highly pathogenic emerging viruses. These efforts are intended to avoid similar situations where poorer nations are left with fewer medical resources, particularly vaccines, to address pandemics as compared to their more developed countries that have early on invested in health sciences and medical research,” he emphasized.