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Think Outside The Box

Philippines’ President Rodrigo Duterte volunteers for trial of Russia-made COVID-19 vaccine

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has said that he would volunteer to take the Russia-made coronavirus vaccine to test it, and the country`s government on Tuesday voiced a readiness to cooperate with Moscow on the vaccine`s clinical trials and production. He also welcomed a supply offer from Moscow that he expects will be free of charge.

“There will be volunteers. Now, when the vaccine arrives, so there will be no talk, I will volunteer to receive it in public. I will be the first to be experimented on,” Duterte said during a Monday public address, as quoted by CNN Philippines.

Duterte also reportedly wanted to discuss with Russian President Vladimir Putin how many vaccines against coronavirus would be supplied to the Philippines and how the clinical trials would take place. Russia expects regulatory approval for a potential COVID-19 vaccine this month and is ready to provide it to the Philippines, or team up with a local firm to mass-produce it.

“I will tell President (Vladimir) Putin that I have huge trust in your studies in combating COVID and I believe that the vaccine that you have produced is really good for humanity,” Duterte said on television late on Monday.

Soon after Duterte`s announcement, the Russian Direct Investment Fund said that it was ready to conduct clinical trials of the vaccine in the Philippines. Moreover, on Tuesday, the president`s administration said that Manila was ready to work on trials, vaccine production, and supply with Moscow.

“The Philippines expresses readiness to work with Russia on clinical trials, vaccine supply, and production, and in other areas which relevant Philippine and Russian institutions deem appropriate in order to cope with this global health emergency,” the presidential administration said on Facebook.

The Philippine government also said that the country is continuing to cooperate on the vaccine development with partners from other countries as well.