Philippines leader Duterte may be injected with Russian Covid-19 vaccine as early as May 2021 – spokesperson

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte could receive a Russian-made vaccine for the novel coronavirus next year, his spokesperson has said. Duterte previously expressed interest in testing out the promising drug himself.

Duterte’s spokesperson, Harry Roque, told reporters that the president would be inoculated with the Russian vaccine as early as May 1, 2021, if the treatment is approved by the country’s drug watchdog.  

Roque said that an expert panel will review the results of the vaccine’s phase-one and phase-two clinical trials next month, reiterating that Manila is looking forward to cooperating with Russia to find a cure for Covid-19.

As we have said, the Philippines is ready to work with Russia on clinical trials, vaccine supply and production, among others, subject to our existing laws and local processes.

Russian leader Vladimir Putin revealed earlier this week that Moscow has become the first country to register a vaccine for the novel coronavirus, saying that one of his two daughters has already been inoculated with the drug.

Alexander Ginzburg, the head of the Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology, which has developed the vaccine dubbed ‘Sputnik V,’ said that the drug is still yet to complete its phase-three trials and to be peer-reviewed.    

However, Duterte said on Monday that he was “overjoyed” upon hearing the news about Sputnik V, and seemed eager to test out the promising treatment himself. “I will be the first one to be experimented on,” he stated.

On Wednesday, Philippines Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said that officials would meet with the Gamaleya Research Institute to discuss the possibility of having a clinical trial in the country.

A number of countries have been rushing to roll out a vaccine ever since the Covid-19 outbreak was first recorded in the Chinese city of Wuhan last December. Overall, more than 20.6 million people have been infected by the coronavirus worldwide, and nearly 750,000 have died, according to Johns Hopkins University.

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