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  • Writer's pictureMelo Acuna

Philippines, India-based firm sign for COVID-19 vaccine

Philippine government to buy 30 million doses of COVOVAX

MANILA – The Philippines forged a deal with Serum Institute of India (SII) and Faberco Life Sciences, Inc with vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez, Jr. for 30 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine Covovax which will be available in the country by July this year.

Kishore Hemlani, founder of Faberco Life Sciences Inc., SII’s Philippine partner said it was a significant milestone in relations between India and the Philippines.

“It shows that we don’t have to look far beyond Philippine shores to find friends who are willing to help each other out,” said Hemlani after signing the agreement with Secretary Galvez over the weekend.

SII is said to be the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer, partnered with Novavax, a US-based biotechnology company for the development and commercialization of the Covovax vaccine.

In a statement from Malacanang, it was learned the vaccine has the recombinant coronavirus spike protein nanoparticle and a Novavax-patented Matrix-M adjuvant to boost the immune response and stimulate high levels of neutralizing anti-bodies.

In a separate interview, Dr. Luningning Villa said in Malacanang that Covovax is in third-state trials and expected to be approved for different international regulators.

“The vaccine will be used to vaccinate 15 million vulnerable and poor Filipinos. The vaccine is stable at 2 to 8C, the standard temperate that is within the existing cold chain in the Philippines, thereby allowing its distribution to the remotest villages,” said Dr. Villa.

The candidate vaccine is thoroughly evaluated in different geographies, different age groups, grounds that are most affected by COVID-19, along with people with HIV, and racial and ethnic minorities.

The clinical trials involve a significant number of population of around 50,000 to ensure extreme robust clinical data prior to approval by the relevant regulatory bodies including the World Health Organization.

The vaccine has been tried in Australia, South Africa and India as the Phase Three trial is being carried out in the United Kingdom and the United States Phase III trial is with 15,000 subject and Mexico with the United States and Mexico.

The exact price will be released soon as negotiations are still on between the Philippine government and SII. Faberco Life Sciences has partnerships with other countries for polio, rotavirus vaccine, Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine, aside from the COVI-19 blade vaccine. (Melo M. Acuña)

Dr. Ma. Luningning Elio-Villa (Screen grab from Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque's press briefing. (Melo M. Acuna)

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