Duterte readying money to buy COVID-19 vaccine

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Roa Duterte said he is seeking fund sources for the purchase of a vaccine against coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) once it becomes available.

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte updates the nation COVID-19
President Rodrigo Roa Duterte updates the nation on the government's efforts in addressing the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at the Malago Clubhouse in Malacañang on May 19, 2020 (Photo from Karl Norman/PCOO)

“I’m looking for money to — balikan ko ulit dito kasi nag-usapan tayo ng pera na may pera ako pangbili ng vaccine just in case somebody else would beat the Moderna to the vaccine,” President Duterte said in a televised public address Tuesday night.

“Many countries are on the verge of — lumalapit na sila, malapit na sila sa vaccine. Naghahabulan. But from the — judging from the time the COVID started up to now, I’m sure that they have made a lot of progress in finding the vaccine. Nakahanap na sila. Kailangan may pera ako niyan kasi bili kaagad tayo.”

The President expressed concern over the possible source of fund especially after the government released billions in emergency subsidy to poor households to help them cope with the pandemic.

He said, however, that another option for the government is to borrow money for the purchase of anti-COVID-19 vaccine.

It was reported that Moderna Inc.’s experimental COVID-19 vaccine produced protective antibodies in a small group of healthy volunteers, giving promising early results.

READ: US biotech firm announces 'positive interim phase 1' results for COVID-19 vaccine

The experimental vaccine is the first to be tested in the United States.

The vaccine being developed by Moderna is one of more than 100 under development intended to protect against the novel coronavirus that has so far infected more than 4.7 million people globally. The virus also killed over 317,000.

The US government has backed Moderna’s vaccine development initiatives granting the biotech company multi-million dollar support.

Similar efforts are being made around the world. In China, scientists there said they have been developing a drug that has the power to bring the COVID-19 pandemic to a stop.

Researchers said a drug being tested at China’s Peking University could not only shorten the recovery time for those infected, but even offer short-term immunity from the virus.

A Chinese health official said the country has five potential coronavirus vaccines at the human trial stage.

As countries grapple to contain COVID-19, the World Health Organization (WHO) has warned that developing a vaccine could take 12 to 18 months.

— The Summit Express

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