Russia offers to supply Philippines with COVID-19 vaccine

Above, a nurse checks on a patient who has recovered from COVID-19 as he donate plasmas at a hospital in Manila on April 22, 2020. (AFP)
Short Url
Updated 07 August 2020

Russia offers to supply Philippines with COVID-19 vaccine

  • Russia is expecting regulatory approval for its first potential COVID-19 vaccine this month
  • Moscow’s offer comes amid concern in some developing countries about access to a COVID-19 vaccine

MANILA: Russia is willing to supply a coronavirus vaccine to the Philippines, or team up with a local firm to mass produce it, its ambassador to Manila said on Friday, as infections in the Southeast Asian nation surge.
Russia is expecting regulatory approval for its first potential COVID-19 vaccine this month, with doses to be administered to frontline health workers first.
But the frenetic race globally to develop a COVID-19 vaccine is raising some concern that speed could compromise safety and that some countries could be putting national prestige before solid science.
“We are ready to supply vaccines to the Philippines,” Igor Khovaev, Russia’s ambassador to the Philippines, told a virtual news conference.
It can also invest with a Philippine partner for local vaccine production, he said, adding that Russia was awaiting a response to its proposal from the Philippines’ foreign ministry.
The ministry in a statement said the Russian offer “has been referred to the appropriate agencies for proper assessment and evaluation.”
Khovaev said the vaccine was “effective and safe,” adding that about 20 countries had expressed interest in working with Russia on deployment of the vaccines.
Russia’s offer comes amid concern in some developing countries about access to a COVID-19 vaccine, with expectations of high demand globally.
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has sought closer ties with Russia, as well as with China, in part due to his dislike for historic ally the United States.
Duterte last month said he had made a plea to his Chinese counterpart to make the Philippines a priority if it successfully develops a COVID-19 vaccine. The Philippines has so far recorded more than 122,000 cases.
Asked on Thursday about the Russian vaccine, World Health Organization emergencies director Michael Ryan said trial data was needed to ensure any vaccines are safe and effective.


Arthritis drug trialled as potential treatment for COVID-19

Updated 3 min 36 sec ago

Arthritis drug trialled as potential treatment for COVID-19

  • Dr. Andy Martin: We are conducting this study to see whether otilimab could potentially ease the effect of COVID- 19 on the lungs
  • Dr. Tim Felton: The primary end point of this study is that participants are alive and free of lung failure after 28 days — so this research is potentially life-saving

LONDON: The experimental arthritis drug, otilimab, is being trialled as a potential treatment for COVID-19.

The first patient, administered with the drug, is currently being cared for at Manchester Royal Infirmary (MRI), part of Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust (MFT).

The OSCAR study (Otilimab in Severe COVID-19 Related Disease) is sponsored and funded by the pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline.

The study at the MRI is being led by Dr. Andy Martin, an Intensive Care and Anaesthesia Consultant.

Dr. Martin said: “The patients eligible to take part in this study are those experiencing very severe lung difficulties due to COVID-19 infection and are receiving oxygen or ventilator support.

“We are conducting this study to see whether otilimab — which is under investigation as a potential treatment for rheumatoid arthritis — could also potentially ease the effect of coronavirus on the lungs, dampening the impact of the virus on the immune system.

Christopher Corsico, Senior Vice President Development, GSK said: “We are continuing to work hard to find solutions to address the pandemic, including exploring potential treatment options for COVID-19 patients.

“We know that some COVID-19 patients experience an overreaction of their immune system — sometimes referred to as cytokine storm — which can lead to hospitalization or death. We believe that otilimab might be able to help counter or calm this process.

Dr. Tim Felton, Honorary Consultant, Senior Lecturer at The University of Manchester and Clinical Lead for all MFT COVID-19-related research studies, leads OSCAR at Wythenshawe Hospital, which is also part of MFT.

Dr. Felton said: “The primary end point of this study is that participants are alive and free of lung failure after 28 days — so this research is potentially life-saving.

“I’d like to thank our first OSCAR participant — as well as the thousands of others who have taken part in coronavirus studies at MFT to date — as every participant who takes part in our research is contributing to the coordinated effort to enhance understanding of this global pandemic.”