Prepare Yourself! Sputnik V to launch in PH as early as November, says Russian financier

CEO Kirill Dmitriev of the Russian Direct Investment Fund. Photo handout from RDIF.
CEO Kirill Dmitriev of the Russian Direct Investment Fund. Photo handout from RDIF.

Are you ready to get yourself immunized against COVID-19? Because Sputnik V, the controversial Russian vax, might become available in the Philippines within this year.

The chief executive officer of the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), the government agency bankrolling the development of the vaccine, said today in an interview with cable channel ANC that Philippine clinical trials might start this month or in September.

“If we work very closely with your regulators, if we work very closely with your health minister, we can actually make the vaccine available to [the] Philippines as early as November or early December,” RDIF senior official Kirill Dmitriev said.

Read: Really? Duterte volunteers to take part in Russia’s COVID-19 vax trials

The RDIF is willing to “sponsor and organize trials” of around 500 to 1,000 people in the Philippines. In addition, clinical trials will also be conducted in the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Russia, and Brazil, with about 1,000 participants each.

“We really have a special relationship with the Philippines and that is why we want you to have a clinical trial so that your scientists, your regulators can really experience this vaccine, see how it works,” he added.

Sputnik V has attracted much attention (and controversy) because scientists fear that Moscow has cut corners in its development, making it ineffective or worse, unsafe. But that doesn’t seem to worry President Rodrigo Duterte who bragged in a public speech that his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin had promised to give the Philippines free vials of the experimental coronavirus vax. Duterte even said that he was willing to join the trials but it turns out that, at 75 years old, he is too old to participate in such.

If the vaccine gets the green light from local drug regulators (and if Duterte’s bodyguards approve), Duterte can get himself jabbed with the Sputnik V in May 2021 (but will he, really?).

Dmitriev assured the public that the vaccine is safe, and Mother Russia is magnanimous enough to share it with us in the Philippines, which other Southeast Asians have called the coronavirus hotspot of the region.

He said that freely giving the Sputnik V to other countries is “a very important example to other nations because [having a] vaccine is the ultimate solution” against COVID-19.

“It’s totally unethical not to make this technology available to people…There were no significant side effects [seen during our tests],” he added.


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