Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte delivers a speech at the Malacanang Palace in Manila on June 1, 2017.
Noel Celis | AFP | Getty Images
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte could be injected with Russia’s coronavirus vaccine as early as May 2021, according to official government news, which quoted the president̵7;s spokesman on Thursday.
Earlier this week, Duterte volunteered to participate in trials of the Russian vaccine, although scientists and health experts questioned the safety and effectiveness of the drug.
Russia on Tuesday announced it had registered the world’s first rapidly spreading coronavirus vaccine, or Covid-19, after less than two months of clinical trials. The details of those trials have not been published.
The Philippines is among a handful of countries that will participate in a wider “phase three” trial for the vaccine. The Philippine News Agency, the official news of the government, reported that the country intends to start those trials in October.
Third-stage trials are considered by medical experts as critical to any vaccine development and are necessary to root out any possible side effects. Such exams, which usually do what vaccines and who does not, can involve thousands of participants.
The Philippines last week overtook Indonesia to report the largest number of cumulative coronavirus cases in Southeast Asia, data compiled by Johns Hopkins University showed. As of Thursday afternoon, the country has reported 143,749 cases and 2,404 deaths, according to Hopkins data.
Duterte last month prayed with China to make his country a priority after developing a vaccine, Reuters reported.
J. Stephen Morrison of the Center for Strategic and International Studies told CNBC’s Squawk Box Asia on Wednesday that it was not surprising that Russian President Vladimir Putin offered Russia the Duterte vaccine.
Morrison is a senior vice president at CSIS and director of the think-tank Global Health Policy Center.
“Putin is also playing into the anxiety within low- and middle-income countries that rich countries are blocking all supplies of vaccines coming from these other major outflows, and that they will be left behind. next with long, long delays and very damaging, “he said.
– Berkeley Lovelace Jr. of CNBC contributed to this report.