The seven-day COVID-19 positivity rate in the National Capital Region (NCR) has gone up over the past week, but remained below five percent, the independent monitoring OCTA Research Group said on Moday.
Meanwhile, Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian is pressing the need to boost local capacity on vaccine development through the creation of the Virology and Vaccine Institute of the Philippines (VIP).
From 2.2 percent recorded last March 11, the positivity rate in the NCR went up to 3.2 percent on March 18, OCTA Research fellow Dr. Guido David said on Twitter.
Positivity rate refers to the percentage of people found positive for COVID among the total number of individuals tested.
A positivity rate of less than five percent was recommended by the World Health Organization in May 2020.
If the positivity rate is at five percent or higher, it means there is high virus transmission.
Meanwhile, David said positivity rates up in two southern Philippine provinces —Misamis Oriental with 17.1 percent on March 18, up from 11.1 percent on March 11, and South Cotabato with 13.2 percent, up from 10.5 percent.
The Department of Health on Sunday logged 185 new COVID cases, bringing the nationwide caseload to 4,078,994.
It was the 12th straight day that more than 100 new daily cases have been reported, and the fourth straight day that the number has exceeded 150.
The Department of Health (DOH) noted that the delay is due to the non-extension of the declaration of a state of calamity beyond 2022.
Gatchalian made the suggestion to boostlocal capacity to develop vaccines following the DOH’s announcement that delivery of the bivalent COVID vaccines might be slightly delayed.
As we have witnessed the bad effects of COVID, we should be prepared and it is important that we have own research and development in the study of vaccines.
In this way, we can immediately address any sickness that could likely be fatal.
The senator made his proposal in the Virology and Vaccine Institute Act of the Philippines (VIP) of 2022 (Senate Bill No. 941), which he refiled this 19th Congress.
The proposed measure seeks to establish the VIP to serve as the premier research and development institute in the field of virology, encompassing all areas in viruses and viral diseases in humans, animals, and plants.
The mandates of the VIP will include, among others, the undertaking of scientific and technological research and development (R&D) in the field of virology and the development of an information system on virology science and technology for use by both the public and private sectors.
Aside from developing diagnostic kits, vaccines, and therapeutics for humans, the VIP will also develop them for animal and plant diseases which cause significant loss for local farmers and impact animal and agronomic health and food supplies.
He recalled the country’s experience with the first African swine fever outbreak in July 2019, which led to the culling of 251,450 pigs, reduced national production by 8.5%, and an estimated trade loss of about P1 billion.
Gatchalian also recalled that in July 2020, a case of the highly infectious H5N6 subtype of the influenza A virus was reported in Pampanga, which led to a poultry farm’s slaughter of nearly 39,000 chickens to curb a bird flu outbreak.
The DOH’s Health Facilities and Services Regulatory Bureau (HFSRB) will establish the guidelines on the regulation and operation of virology-related facilities, to be assisted by the Department of Agriculture (DA) and other related government agencies.