Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go said Russia has offered to establish in the Philippines a manufacturing facility to produce Covid-19 vaccines once it develops a cure for the deadly coronavirus disease.
Go, the chair of the Senate Committee on Health, said he gathered this information from Igor Khovaev, the ambassador of the Russian Federation to the Philippines.
President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday accepted the offer of Russia to supply the Philippines with its coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) vaccines once mass production starts.
In a public address in Davao City, Duterte said he is “very happy” by the news that Russia would provide vaccines free of charge.
“I am very happy because Russia is our friend. They’re going to give free vaccines. They didn’t say anything about paying for it. I think this is President Vladimir Putin’s way of helping us, by giving it for free,” he said.
He added that the Philippine government will accept it and talk about how much of a supply the country needs.
Go said that Khovaev, informed him in a letter, dated August 1, that Russia was then nearing completion of the production of the vaccine against COVID-19.
Khovaev has subsequently confirmed that Russia has already successfully completed the clinical trials (phase 3) for the world’s first vaccine against COVID-19.
The vaccine, using the trade name “Avigavir”, has been developed by the National Research Center of Epidemiology and Microbiology under the name of N.F. Gamaleya of the Russian Ministry of Health. The center has previously developed successful vaccines against Ebola fever and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) virus. The vaccine research was supported by the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF). It was the RDIF that proposed to establish partnership with the Philippines in COVID-19 manufacturing and distribution.