Philippines' Duterte has 'huge trust' in Russia vaccine, volunteers for trial

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has lauded Russia's efforts to develop a coronavirus vaccine and is willing to participate in trials.

Russia expects regulatory approval for a potential COVID-19 vaccine this month and is ready to provide it to the Philippines, or team up with a local firm to mass produce it.

"I will tell President (Vladimir) Putin that I have huge trust in your studies in combating COVID and I believe that the vaccine that you have produced is really good for humanity," Duterte said on television late on Monday.

To allay public fears, the leader even offered to be a guinea pig when the vaccine arrives and said: "I can be the first they can experiment on."

His office on Tuesday said the Philippines stands ready to work with Russia on vaccine trials, supply and production.

In July, Duterte made a plea to his Chinese counterpart to make the Philippines a priority if it develops a vaccine, amid concern in developing countries about availability.

The Philippines has among Asia's highest numbers of coronavirus infections, which rose to 136,638 on Monday after a record daily jump of 6,958 cases.

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