From the blog

PHILIPPINES: President Duterte Offered To Be ‘Lab Rat’ For Russia’s covid-19 Vaccine

Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte has offered to be the first person to be injected with Russia’s coronavirus vaccine even as World Health Organisation cautioned on its safety as pre-qualification assessment and review is yet to be conducted.

Shortly after Russia’s announcement, Duterte said “I can be the first they can experiment on… I believe the vaccine you have produced is really good for humanity.”

Commenting on Russian President Vladimir Putin’s earlier announcement that Russia had registered the world’s first coronavirus vaccine at a UN press briefing, a WHO spokesman said the “pandemic is threatening lives and economies.”

“It’s vital that we apply all public health measures that we know are working, and we need to continue to invest in and accelerate the development of safe and effective treatments and vaccines that will help us reduce disease transmission in the future.”

The vaccine, developed by the Gamaleya National Research Center, has officially been registered with Russia’s Health Ministry, Putin told a meeting of members of the government in Moscow.

“We are in close contact with the Russian health authorities, and discussions are going on with respect to possible pre-qualification of the vaccine,” he noted, adding pre-qualification of any vaccine needs rigorous review and assessment.

He said as soon as the “absolutely essential clinical trial data” is available, national regulatory bodies need to be ready to review the safety and efficacy data before using it.

“We are following the progress in the development of COVID-19 vaccines, and we maintain the draft landscape of candidate vaccines, which is updated every week on our website,” said the spokesman. “WHO lists 25 candidate vaccines in clinical evaluation and 139 in a pre-clinical evaluation.”

Jasarevic said the WHO has its accelerator program seeking to speed up research for an effective vaccine for all countries. “At the same time, we are supporting the building of manufacturing capabilities and buying supplies ahead of time so that we have doses that could be equitably distributed in 2021,” he said.

Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Resources Center said Tuesday that the world has 20,113,592 confirmed COVID-19 cases, with 737,022 deaths recorded and more than 12 million recoveries. With 895,691 cases, Russia has the world’s fourth-highest COVID-19 case tally.