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PH only Asian nation not making vaccines

Republika

Out of all nations in Asia, the Philippines is the only one not manufacturing vaccines, according to the science and technology department’s Balik Scientist, Dr. Annabelle Villalobos, who is also a consultant for Johnson and Johnson’s Biopharmaceuticals.


A Balik Scientist is an expert in the field of science and technology, who is a Filipino citizen or of Filipino descent living abroad and contracted by the Philippine government to work in the country. This was made possible under the DOST’s Balik Scientist Program, which encourages experts to return and share their knowledge for scientific agro-industrial and economic advancement.


While the Philippines has no capacity for manufacturing vaccines yet, they can begin with formulating, filling and packaging them, while importing active ingredients from other countries. By starting out this way, personnel would be easier to train in producing vaccines later.


Villalobos pointed out that this had the potential to create “at least 250” jobs for scientists, engineers and professionals in related fields.


The Balik Scientist acknowledged the timely establishment of the Virology Science and Technology Institute of the Philippines (VIP), which was last year given P284 million in funding for the purchase of equipment.


Science undersecretary Rowena Cristina Guevara said that it would be the country’s premier research center dedicated to studying viruses and the diseases they cause as well as developing vaccines on humans, animals and plants. She added that the Philippines may begin producing vaccines by late 2022.


Usec Guevarra surmised that with help of the private sector, the Philippines may be into vaccine production by late 2022.


Among the Asian countries producing WHO pre-qualified vaccines are China, India, Indonesia, Republic of Korea, Japan and Vietnam.


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