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Philippine President Duterte can be injected with Russia’s coronavirus vaccine by May



Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte will give a speech at Malacanang Palace in Manila on June 1, 2017.

Noel Celis | AFP | Getty Images

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte can be injected with Russia’s coronavirus vaccine as early as May 2021, according to the government’s official news editor, who quoted the president̵

7;s spokesman on Thursday.

Earlier this week, Duterte volunteered to participate in trials with the Russian vaccine, even when researchers and health experts questioned the drug’s safety and effectiveness.

Russia announced on Tuesday that it had registered the world’s first vaccine against the rapidly spreading coronavirus, or Covid-19, after less than two months of clinical trials. Details of these trials have not been published.

The Philippines is among a handful of countries that will participate in a more comprehensive “phase three” study for the vaccine. The Philippine News Agency, the government’s official news leader, reported that the country aims to launch these trials in October.

Phase three studies are considered by medical experts to be crucial for any vaccine development and are needed to eradicate any side effects. Such studies, which are usually random who gets the vaccine and who does not, can involve thousands of participants.

The Philippines last week crossed Indonesia to report the highest number of cumulative cases of coronavirus 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 asked China to make its country a priority when 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 is no surprise that Russian President Vladimir Putin offered Russia’s vaccine to Duterte.

Morrison is senior vice president at CSIS and head of the think tank’s Global Health Policy Center.

“Putin is also playing on the anxiety of lower-income and middle-income countries that the rich countries are unlocking all assets with vaccines coming out of these other big outlets, and that they will remain at the back of the queue with long, long and very harmful delays, ”he said.

– CNBC’s Berkeley Lovelace Jr. contributed to this report.


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