MVP keen on tieups with vaccine makers

In Photo: Business tycoon and sports patron Manuel V. Pangilinan

Manuel V. Pangilinan, the chairman of Metro Pacific Investments Corp., said he is interested in partnering with other vaccine manufacturers to produce Covid-19 vaccines in the Philippines.

Pangilinan said the plant that would manufacture the vaccines should also have the capability to create jabs against other diseases.

He said his group has already met with Glovax Biotech Corp., one of the proponents for the P7.5-billion vaccine manufacturing plant. It plans to produce EuCorVac-19 of South Korea’s Eubiologics.

“We said that the vaccine that they introduced in the discussion was one that we’re not familiar with, and I’m not sure that it is in the approved list of the government,” he said during the company’s annual stockholders’ meeting on Friday.

“We were open to other vaccine producers globally. No, we were seeing particular brands that are preferred by Filipinos in terms of the vaccines that they would like to have. So we [are] probably gravitating to those vaccines.”

Pangilinan said the facility that his group is eyeing should also have the capability to manufacture other types of vaccines for diseases, such as influenza, polio, measles, chickenpox, smallpox.

“You might as well get into it, the full spectrum of vaccines that the Filipino people need,” he said.

“If you’re going to build the facilities for vaccines, the important part is you have to partner with international pharmaceutical companies who specialize in those vaccines; we don’t think the country has the capability to develop indigenously the relevant vaccines needed for each particular disease.”

Pangilinan said that even with the arrival of Covid-19 vaccines and herd immunity is achieved, the coronavirus will not disappear as the world has not yet determined when the vaccine’s protection would wear off. “And people are talking about boosters, after a period of time, which will continue to be needed by those which have been vaccinated. So the vaccination booster period will be several years,” he said.

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