Sat. Sep 18th, 2021

MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte will study the proposal of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) to reactivate the pharmaceutical development unit at DOST-ITDI (Industrial Technology Development Institute) and establish a virology institute in the country, Malacañang said Sunday.

In a statement, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque made this remark after the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) approved the DOST proposal for possible legislation.

“The President will review the recommendations of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) to establish the Pharmaceutical Development Center and the Virology Science and Technology Institute of the Philippines (VIP), which have already been approved by the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) last Friday, May 22,” he said.

Roque said that if Duterte approves the proposal, the establishment of both research centers could commence this year.

“If and once approved by PRRD, both can start in 2020, with the Pharmaceutical Group and the Virology Research Group evolving out of DOST’s Industrial Technology Development Institute (ITDI),” Roque said.

He also acknowledged that the DOST has included the establishment of the research centers in its 2021 budget proposal.

Earlier, DOST Secretary Fortunato dela Peña said the pharmaceutical development unit at DOST-ITDI may be reactivated as a Tuklas Lunas Center for pharmaceuticals development.

Dela Peña, in a Facebook post, also said the agency has submitted a proposal for possible legislation in order to establish the VIP in New Clark City.

He said the institute is envisioned to be the premier research institute in the field of virology encompassing all areas in viruses and viral diseases in humans, plants and animals.

The establishment of the VIP would also be for the development of vaccines, diagnostics and therapeutics, he added.

“It will conduct innovative scientific research on viral agents requiring high or maximum containment (biosafety level-2 to biosafety level-4) following the World Health Organization’s guidelines on the establishment of a virology laboratory in developing countries,” he said.

The DOST’s proposed creation of research centers is expected to initiate and strengthen local vaccine development toward the country’s vaccine self-reliance and self-sufficiency. (IA/PNA)

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