PH seen as Asia hub for Sputnik V vaccine

Sputnik V vaccine was granted emergency use authorization by the Philippine Food and Drug Administration on Friday, March 19.
| Photo courtesy of Sputnik Vaccine via Philippine News Agency

RUSSIA is looking at the Philippines to become Asia’s vaccine production hub for its Sputnik V vaccine.

In a recent interview with “The Chiefs” on Cignal TV’s OneNews and TV5, Russian Direct Investment Fund CEO Kirill Dmitriev said they are in the final stage of negotiation with producers to manufacture Sputnik V vaccines in the country.

“With the Philippines, we are in the final stage of negotiation with actually two producers and we hope to conclude them shortly,” he said.

“I think the Philippines can actually be one of the hubs of vaccine production for Asia and Russia is really committed to it. We see it from the time we make an agreement the vaccine production can start within the next three or four months,” he added.

According to Dmitriev, they wanted to apply the “Russian model” of enabling countries to produce vaccines themselves in the Philippines.

“That is our model. We exactly enable countries to fully produce the vaccine and have the whole cycle in that country. We have done it already in India, China, and Korea. We want to do it in the Philippines,” he said.

“This is a unique approach because other nations try to control all the technology and basically give fill and finish,” he added.

On March 19, the Philippines’ Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted an emergency use authorization (EAU) for Gamaleya Research Institute’s Sputnik V.

It is the fourth COVID-19 vaccine to be authorized in the country, following Pfizer-BioNTech, AstraZeneca, and Sinovac, respectively.

Based on the late-stage trial results published in The Lancet medical journal, Sputnik V has an efficacy rate of 91.6% against COVID-19.

Despite the huge demand for Russia’s vaccine abroad, Dmitriev assured that the Philippines is “a great priority” to Moscow.

“We are very much committed to delivering vaccines in April. The exact schedule we are still finalizing with the government,” he said.

More vaccines

The Philippines is set to sign a supply agreement with manufacturer Johnson&Johnson before the weekend, according to National Task Force (NTF) Against Covid chief implementer Carlito Galvez Jr. said.

“Sa Johnson & Johnson po may five million doses po tayo at ang supply agreement ay aming pong tinitiyak na magkakaroon po kami ng signing (We have five million doses from Johnson&Johnson and we are set to sign a supply agreement) this coming week, before the weekend,” he said Tuesday, March 23.

The government is also finalizing the indemnification requirement with Pfizer-BioNtech.
On Wednesday, the country received an additional 400,000 doses of Sinovac doses donated by China.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, along with Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Huang Xilian, testing czar Vince Dizon, and Senate committee on health chairperson Senator Bong Go, received the vaccines at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).

“The arrival of these vaccines could not have occurred at a more opportune time considering the continued rise in cases, which in turn increases the need to inoculate more high-risk individuals as soon as possible,” Duque said.

“We shall see to it that all of our healthcare workers, not just in the National Capital Region but in the whole country, are given the protection they need and deserve for being at the forefront of the battle against the virus,” he added.

To date, there are a total of 702,865 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country, with 13,149 fatalities and 580,689 recoveries.

Ritchel Mendiola

Ritchel Mendiola is a staff writer and reporter for the Asian Journal. You can reach her at [email protected].

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