Press Release
March 20, 2023

Gatchalian pushes for Virology and Vaccine Institute of the Philippines amid vaccine woes

Amid delays in the arrival of the COVID-19 bivalent vaccines in the country, Senator Win Gatchalian is pressing the need to boost local capacity on vaccine development through the creation of the Virology and Vaccine Institute of the Philippines (VIP).

The Health Department explained that the delay is due to the non-extension of the declaration of a state of calamity beyond 2022.

"Sa nakita nating pinsala ng COVID-19, kailangang handa na tayo sa pang hinaharap at mahalagang magkaroon tayo ng sarili nating research and development sa larangan ng pag-aaral ng mga bakuna upang maagapan ang anumang uri ng sakit na maaaring kumitil ng buhay," Gatchalian said.

The lawmaker made his proposal in the Virology and Vaccine Institute Act of the Philippines (VIP) of 2022 (Senate Bill No. 941), which he refiled this 19th Congress. The proposed measure seeks to establish the VIP to serve as the premier research and development institute in the field of virology, encompassing all areas in viruses and viral diseases in humans, animals, and plants.

The mandates of the VIP will include, among others, the undertaking of scientific and technological research and development (R&D) in the field of virology and the development of an information system on virology science and technology for use by both the public and private sectors.

Aside from developing diagnostic kits, vaccines, and therapeutics for humans, the VIP will also develop them for animal and plant diseases which cause significant loss for local farmers and impact animal and agronomic health and food supplies. He recalled the country's experience with the first African swine fever outbreak in July 2019, which led to the culling of 251,450 pigs, reduced national production by 8.5%, and an estimated trade loss of about P1 billion.

Gatchalian also recalled that in July 2020, a case of the highly infectious H5N6 subtype of the influenza A virus was reported in Pampanga, which led to a poultry farm's slaughter of nearly 39,000 chickens to curb a bird flu outbreak.

The Department of Health (DOH) Health Facilities and Services Regulatory Bureau (HFSRB) shall establish guidelines on the regulation and operation of virology-related facilities, to be assisted by the Department of Agriculture (DA) and other related government agencies.


Paglikha sa Virology and Vaccine Institute isinusulong ni Gatchalian

Sa kabila ng naantalang pagdating ng mga COVID-19 bivalent vaccines, isinusulong naman ni Senador Win Gatchalian ang pagpapatatag sa kakayahan ng bansang gumawa ng mga bakuna sa pamamagitan ng paglikha ng Virology and Vaccine Institute of the Philippines (VIP).

Ipinaliwanag kamakailan ng Department of Health (DOH) na nahuli ang mga bakuna dahil sa hindi pagpapalawig sa declaration ng state of calamity lagpas sa 2022.

"Sa nakita nating pinsala ng COVID-19, kailangang handa na tayo sa pang hinaharap at mahalagang magkaroon tayo ng sarili nating research and development sa larangan ng pag-aaral ng mga bakuna upang maagapan ang anumang uri ng sakit na maaaring kumitil ng buhay," ani Gatchalian.

Nakasaad ang panukala ni Gatchalian sa Virology and Vaccine Institute Act of the Philippines (VIP) of 2022 (Senate Bill No. 941) na muli niyang inihain ngayong 19th Congress. Layon ng naturang panukala na ang pagtatatag ng VIP ay bilang isang premier research and development institute sa larangan ng virology na sasaklawin ang lahat ng mga uri ng virus at viral diseases sa mga tao, hayop, at mga halaman.

Kasama sa magiging mga mandato ng VIP ang scientific at technological research and development sa larangan ng virology at ang paglikha ng information system ukol sa virology science and technology na magagamit ng parehong pampubliko at pribadong sektor.

Maliban sa paglikha ng mga diagnostic kits, vaccines, at therapeutics para sa mga tao, lilikhain din ng VIP ang mga ito para sa mga sakit ng halaman at hayop, lalo na't nagdudulot ito ng matinding kawalan sa mga magsasaka at nakakapinsala sa agrikultura at suplay ng pagkain. Binalikan ni Gatchalian ang naging karanasan ng bansa sa unang African swine fever outbreak noong July 2019 na nagdulot sa pagkitil sa buhay ng 251,450 na mga baboy, pagbaba ng 8.5% sa national production, at kawalan ng halos P1 bilyon.

Inalala rin ni Gatchalian na noong Hulyo 2020, naiulat sa Pampanga ang nakakahawang H5N6 subtype ng influenza A virus na nagdulot sa pagpatay sa halos 39,000 na mga manok upang maiwasan ang bird flu outbreak.

Sa ilalim din ng panukalang batas, magbabalangkas ang Health Facilities and Services Regulatory Bureau (HFSRB) ng mga pamantayan sa regulasyon at operasyon ng virology-related facilities. Gagawin ito ng kagawaran sa tulong ng Department of Agriculture (DA) at iba pang ahensya ng pamahalaan.

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