DOST lauds PRRD’s call for creation of Virology Institute

MANILA – The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) has expressed elation over President Duterte’s call for Congress to enact a law creating the Virology Science and Technology Institute of the Philippines (VIP).

DOST Secretary Fortunato de la Peña has assured the Philippines now has “local experts who are also products of our scholarships and training, as well as the the help of our Balik Scientists and international partners.”

In his last State of the Nation Address recently, Duterte endorsed the passage of a law creating the Center for Disease Prevention and Control and the VIP.

“We hope to pursue the creation of public entities dedicated to managing emerging and re-emerging diseases,” dela Pena said.

Duterte said the Philippines has been getting the Covid-19 vaccines from abroad, since it was not able to invent one, and if ”given the proper support and the equipment they have to use, the Filipino brain can also process or make vaccines in the future.”

De la Peña earlier said the Philippines does not have the capability to develop a vaccine due to the lack of facility, prompting him to propose the establishment of the VIP, which would be a premier research institute in virology and diseases in humans, animals, and plants.

He said the VIP will not only prepare the country to address Covid-19, but other viral diseases as well. “We can work on vaccines even for infectious diseases caused by non-virus organisms,” he added.

Dela Pena said the vaccines the VIP would work on would also include vaccines for children, for measles, dengue, typhoid fever, among others.

“Maybe we could also develop these, but we would prioritize vaccines for pandemics, as well as diseases of animals and plants caused by viruses,” he said.

The DOST plans to start the VIP building construction next year, and finish it in 2023. It has also allocated some P284 million for virology research and development, which would cover virology and diseases in humans, animals, and plants.