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House leader prods Duterte to certify establishment of virology institute as urgent

July 21, 2021 - Wednesday 3:07 PM by MDM

Article Banner Image Photo courtesy of RITM FB PAGE

House Deputy Speaker and Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez said that the VIP will serve as the lead institute of the country to conduct in-depth studies or researches on viruses including the development of vaccines.  

“The COVID-19 pandemic has taught us to be more serious about our investments in science and technology. The Virology center is a much needed facility in the Philippines to combat future pandemics. The establishment of this institute is a long time coming. The time is now,” Rodriguez said.

Under the his bill, the VIP shall have an initial funding of P2 Billion. The research hub shall serve the following objectives: 

a. Research on viruses using modern approach such as molecular biology and its application or biotechnology;

b. Development of diagnostics, vaccines, and therapeutics (molecular biotechnology)

c. International cooperation and network of databases of virus infections;

d. Operation of a virus gene bank, virus genome laboratory, and virus reference laboratory to focus on viruses circulating in the Philippines for disease prevention and epidemiological studies; and

e. Operation of a virus high containment laboratory dedicated to the study of highly infectious and highly pathogenic viruses.

“With the establishment of the Virology institute, we now have the capacity to advance our studies on viruses to be able to save millions of Filipino lives. This will also boost our expertise on molecular biotechnology thereby encouraging our local scientists to develop more research,” Rodriguez explained. 

Rodriguez is hopeful that the president will give emphasis to the said measure during his last State of the National Address on July 26. 

Latest available data from the Health department showed the country has administered 15,096,261 doses of vaccines wherein 10,388,188 have received the first doses while 4,708,073 have already completed the required 2 doses.