Locsin: PH in talks with other drugmakers for possible COVID vaccine besides China


Posted at Jul 31 2020 11:55 PM

Dr. Nita Patel, Director of Antibody discovery and Vaccine development, lifts a vial with a potential coronavirus, COVID-19, vaccine at Novavax labs in Gaithersburg, Maryland on March 20, 2020, one of the labs developing a vaccine for the coronavirus, COVID-19. Andrew Caballero-Reynolds, AFP/File

MANILA - The Philippines is in talks with other drugmakers for possible COVID-19 vaccine aside from China, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said Friday.

"The President has made sure that any developments out there, we will have access," he said in an online interview on "Usapang Community Quarantine."

Locsin said the Philippines had "connections" with American pharmaceutical companies Pfizer and Moderna, which are also developing treatment against the contagious disease.

The Philippines is also part of COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access (COVAX) facility, a groundbreaking worldwide collaboration to accelerate the development, production and equitable access to COVID-19 tests, treatments and vaccines, he added.

Locsin said world leaders also called on a guarantee that any vaccine made should be available to all countries.

"Always send the most to the ones who have the least. Always reach out to those farthest behind. That's what the world should do," he said, quoting a colleague.

Weaponizing a vaccine, the foreign affairs chief warned, will only lead to chaos worldwide, Locsin added.

"Every civilized country knows, if the vaccine is ever used as a weapon for domination, for extra influence in the world affairs, that will be the end of world community and all hell will break loose," he said.

Scientists around the world are racing to find a vaccine to arrest COVID-19, which has infected 17.3 million people and claimed more than 674,000 lives globally.

In the Philippines, the novel coronavirus, which first emerged in China late last year, has sickened 93,354 people. The tally includes 2,023 fatalities, 65,178 recoveries and 26,153 active cases.

In a taped address aired Friday morning, Duterte said the Philippines' first COVID-19 vaccine may come from China.

China has also assured it would prioritize the Philippines once it develops a vaccine.