SEN. Richard Gordon called on the government to make the Philippines a “dengue fortress,” as well as the world’s “dengue research capital.”
The senator on Sunday said the Philippines could be at the forefront in battling dengue, the same that Singapore and Hong Kong battled the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome epidemic in 2013.
“We should be the dengue research capital of the world. We should make the Philippines a fortress against dengue — hindi makakapasok ang dengue (dengue should be eliminated),” Gordon said in a privilege speech last week.
“It is a golden opportunity to use it as research. We want to be able to learn from this research in this country where dengue is endemic. Let the government in this dark moment be a beacon of hope for dengue, for ourselves, for the world,” he said.
Gordon said the government “could set up the most advanced research and development program and testing facilities for dengue specialists in anticipation of the next dengue epidemic, which occurs in a cycle of three to five-year intervals.”
Funds could be sourced from the P1.2-billion refunded by Sanofi Pasteur for the unused vials of Dengvaxia, he said.
The government stopped using Dengvaxia for its dengue immunization following the admission of Sanofi Pasteur in November 2017 that the vaccine could worsen the case of those who have not been exposed to the dengue virus.
Gordon said the complaint of parents that their children had developed a host of other diseases such as leukemia, rheumatic fever and encephalitis, among others, after they were given Dengvaxia shots should be thoroughly researched and studied.
“We cannot leave them in the dark, in a vacuum where we cannot explain, in no uncertain terms, why they have unusual symptoms, whether or not these are related to Dengvaxia,” he said.