The Philippine government has expressed willingness to be subjected to Russia’s clinical trials for a vaccine against COVID-19, as President Rodrigo Duterte accepted Russia’s offer to provide the country COVID-19 vaccines and volunteered to participate in trials.
“The Philippines stands ready to work with Russia on clinical trials, vaccine supply and production, and other areas deemed practicable by relevant Philippine and Russian agencies to address this global health emergency,” Malacañang Palace said in a statement on Tuesday.
“Like similar bilateral and multilateral arrangements, all cooperation initiatives will be consistent with protocols for testing and health standards. International cooperation is key to effectively combat this global pandemic,” the statement continued.
“Consistent with the President’s independent foreign policy, we continue to work with partners across the world to ensure access to a safe vaccine,” it added.
Russian Ambassador to the Philippines Igor Khovaev earlier said Russia is ready to supply the country with COVID-19 vaccines which showed “promising” results.
President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday that Russia has become the first country to grant regulatory approval to a COVID-19 vaccine after less than two months of human testing, which included one of his two adult daughters.
The announcement however, was met with international scepticism and unease because the shots have only been studied in dozens of people.
“I know it has proven efficient and forms a stable immunity,” Putin said. “We must be grateful to those who made that first step very important for our country and the entire world.”
However, scientists in Russia and other countries sounded an alarm, saying that rushing to offer the vaccine before final-stage testing could backfire.
Scientists said a Phase 3 trial — which involves tens of thousands of people and can take months — is the only way to prove if an experimental vaccine is safe and really works.
By comparison, vaccines entering final-stage testing in the U.S. require studies of 30,000 people each. Two vaccine candidates already have begun those huge studies, with three more set to get underway by fall.
“Fast-tracked approval will not make Russia the leader in the race, it will just expose consumers of the vaccine to unnecessary danger,” said Russia’s Association of Clinical Trials Organizations, in urging government officials to postpone approving the vaccine without completed advanced trials. (Source: INQUIRER.net)