Philippines Widens Search for Vaccine as Virus Spread Slows


The Philippines is expanding its search for vaccine supplies as the spread of infections appears to slow in Southeast Asia’s virus epicenter.

The government is set to meet with Australia’s largest drug-maker CSL Ltd. for a Covid-19 vaccine being developed by the University of Queensland, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said in a virtual briefing. The nation reported 1,383 new infections on Monday, the lowest since July 14.

The Philippines, which does not have its own vaccine manufacturing capacity, did not reach a commitment with Pfizer Inc. during a meeting last Friday since a law restricts the government from “pre-ordering without the products yet,” Vergeire said. The country also won’t be able to join Pfizer’s clinical trials, which are expected to finish by end-October.

New infections have started declining since the Philippines returned the capital and its surrounds into a two-week lockdown in August. Total Covid cases stood at 238,727 on Monday, the highest in Southeast Asia.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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