A priest who is also a member of the University of the Philippines-OCTA Research team hopes that the Philippine government would allow him to conduct a clinical trial on animals for an oral COVID-19 vaccine that is being developed.
Fr. Nicanor Austriaco is on his way to the United States where he conducts experiments on ‘yeast-based’ vaccines that can be swallowed.
The focus of their research is the use of ‘human probiotic yeast’ which they hope will create stronger immunity and protection against the virus.
It is said that the COVID-19 vaccine they are developing is for Filipinos and other 3rd world countries which is much cheaper compared to those created by big pharmaceutical companies, according to Fr. Austriaco, a molecular biologist.
By the time the study ends, Fr. Austriaco hopes that upon his return to the Philippines, he will be given permission to perform animal testing at the University of Sto. Tomas. If it is said to be effective for animals, they will ask the government for another permit for clinical trials for the oral COVID-19 vaccine.
Father Nicanor Robles Austriaco, Jr. OP is a Filipino-American molecular biologist and Catholic priest. He is a professor of biology and professor of theology at Providence College, in Providence, Rhode Island, and a research fellow at the Center for Theology, Religious Studies, and Ethics, at the University of Santo Tomas in the Philippines.
COVID-19 vaccine priority list
Last week, Malacañang released the list of specific priority groups for the government’s COVID-19 vaccination program:
- A1: Frontline workers in health facilities both national and local, private and public, health professionals and non-professionals like students, nursing aides, janitors, barangay health workers, etc.
- A2: Senior citizens aged 60 years old and above
- A3: Persons with comorbidities not otherwise included in the preceding categories
A4: Frontline personnel in essential sectors including uniformed personnel and those in working sectors identified by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases as essential during an enhanced community quarantine
A5: Indigent population not otherwise included in the preceding categories
B1: Teachers, social workers
B2: Other government workers
B3: Other essential workers
B4: Socio-demographic groups at significantly higher risk other than senior citizens and indigenous people
B6: Other remaining workforce
C: Rest of the Filipino population not otherwise included in the above groups