Philippine President Duterte could receive an injection of the Russian coronavirus vaccine by next May

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Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte delivers a speech at the Malacanang Palace in Manila on June 1, 2017.Noel Celis | AFP | Getty Images

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte could be injected with the Russian coronavirus vaccine as early as May 2021, according to the official government news wire, which the presidential spokesman quoted on Thursday.Earlier this week, Duterte volunteered to participate in Russian vaccine trials, even as scientists and health experts questioned the drug’s safety and effectiveness.

Russia announced on Tuesday that it had registered the world’s first vaccine against the rapidly spreading coronavirus disease, or Covid-19, after less than two months of clinical trials. Data from these trials have not been published.

The Philippines is one of a handful of countries that will participate in a larger “phase three” trial for the vaccine. The Philippine News Agency, the government’s official news wire, reported that the country intended to start these trials in October.

Phase three trials are considered by medical experts to be essential for any vaccine development and are necessary to rule out any potential side effects. Such trials, which typically randomize those who receive the vaccine and those who don’t, can involve thousands of participants.

Last week, the Philippines overtook Indonesia to report the highest number of cumulative coronavirus cases in Southeast Asia, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. As of Thursday afternoon, the country reported 143,749 cases and 2,404 deaths, according to data from Hopkins.

Last month, Duterte pleaded with China to make his country a priority as it develops a vaccine, Reuters reported.

J. Stephen Morrison of the Center for Strategic and International Studies told CNBC “Squawk Box Asia” on Wednesday that it was no surprise that Russian President Vladimir Putin offered the Russian vaccine to Duterte.

Morrison is senior vice president of CSIS and director of the think tank’s Global Health Policy Center.

“Putin is also playing on the concern in low-income and lower-middle-income countries that rich countries are blocking all vaccine supplies from these other big outlets, and that they are going to be left behind. ‘back. of the queue with long, long and very damaging delays, ”he said.

– CNBC’s Berkeley Lovelace Jr. contributed to this report.

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