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Philippines DOST eyes production of
various vaccines by Madel R. Sabater
09-February-2008 Manila Bulletin
An agency of the Department
of Science and Technology (DoST) is eyeing the production
of vaccines, including an edible vaccine against rabies, as
part of its banner program under health biotechnology.
According to Research Information and Utilization Division
(RIUD) chief Dr. Virginia Novenario Enriquez of DoST’s Philippine
Council for Advanced Science and Technology Research and
Development (PCASTRD), the agency aims to produce vaccines
under its health biotechnology program.
The target vaccines include edible vaccines against rabies,
vaccine for human influenza, and schistosomiasis, a parasitic
disease also known as bilharzias.
Schistosomiasis is often a chronic illness that results
from infection of the blood by a parasitic flatworm called
"These are basically tropical diseases being addressed
by developed countries," Enriquez said, adding that
the project also includes the development of vaccines for
malaria and dengue, among others, which are also rampant
in the country.
The development of vaccines is one of PCASTRD’s priority
projects in the area of health biotechnology.
The project is being done in collaboration with its sister
agency, the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development
PCHRD Executive Director Dr. Jaime Montoya had earlier
said there is a "need to improve facilities" to
produce more "high-grade" vaccines and lessen
"We don’t have the infrastructures, we don’t have
the facilities," Montoya lamented. He added that the
Department of Health spends P400 to P600 million per year
"just for vaccines."
Montoya said the country needs to invest "half a billion
dollars" to become "self-sufficient" in terms
of basic vaccines such as those to cure tuberculosis, hepatitis,
and measles, to name a few.
The facilities would have to be good manufacturing practices-certified
to be at par with those in other countries.
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established in 2000 to address the needs of the region for a highly
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