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Philippines expected to approve Russia's ‘Sputnik’ COVID-19 vaccine

Published on 14/08/20 at 12:05pm
Photo by the President of Russia

The Philippines is expected to begin large scale human testing of Russia’s controversial ‘Sputnik’ coronavirus vaccine.

Rodrigo Duterte, the President of the Philippines, had offered to inject himself with the vaccine as soon as possible but has since backtracked, saying he would wait until regulators guarantee its safety.

The presidential spokesman, Harry Roque, has said experts would review the results of Russia’s Phase 1 and 2 clinical trials before the Philippines itself starts a Phase 3 one. Russian and Filipino officials have already meet to discuss the protocols of this trial.

The Filipino FDA hopes to have the vaccine approved and ready for public use by April 2021 and Duterte himself is hoping to be administered the vaccine by 1 May. The President also claims that Russia will give the country the vaccine for free. Anna Lisa Ong-Lim, an infectious disease professor at the University of the Philippines’ College of Medicine, said the short timeline to have a vaccine available by May was optimistic.

The Philippines is one of the worst hit countries by the coronavirus in Southeast Asia, with more 147,500 cases and over 2,400 deaths.  The country is also set to begin clinical trials testing the Japanese drug Avigan to treat coronavirus patients next week.

Conor Kavanagh

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