By Leonardo Micua
AFTER a streak of bad news spurred by the continuous steep rise of COVID-19 cases, comes finally the good news that could hopefully whip up our spirit in this time of the pandemic.
So inspiring is the report that a Filipino priest and scientist is now struggling to develop what could be an oral yeast-based vaccine that could be used as cure for COVID-19 and its many variants.
This could be a final breakthrough in humanity’s continuing battle against COVID-19 as all the vaccines now being used to stop the transmission of the disease are all injectables and sourced out from advanced countries. This time it’d be a Filipino creation.
The report says that Dominican priest Fr. Nicanor Austriatico, a molecular biologist and a visiting professor of the University of Sto. Tomas, is leading a team of scientists seeking to develop an oral vaccine that people can drink every day to flush out COVID-19 from their bodies.
Fr. Austriatico, who holds a PhD from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is eyeing to develop a yeast-based vaccine in oral form so that it can reach as many Filipinos as possible without the need of injecting it, unlike all anti-COVID-19 vaccines developed by advanced countries.
We salute this initiative and at the same time express hope that it will get the support from the government, and the 110 million plus Filipinos, who are reeling from the impact of COVID-19, that has since mutated into many different dangerous variants one year after.
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Just as the NCR plus bubble was placed under Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ), because of the sudden urge of COVID-19 cases, Governor Pogi Espino moved to temporarily halt the inflow of travelers from Metro Manila and its environs into Pangasinan.
In his Executive Order No. 0027-A 2021 that supplemented his EO 0027-2021, the governor ordered that travelers from NCR Plus be denied entry into Pangasinan temporarily.
This will spoil the fun of travelers coming home to spend sweet time with their families or simply taking a vacation up north to take advantage of the long holiday offered by Lent.
After all, because of the critical COVID-19 situation in NCR, many families have already decided to take advantage of the government’s Balik Probinsya program by going back to their provinces, many of whom are passing through Pangasinan.
As Pangasinan is the gateway to the rest of the Ilocos region and, of course Baguio and the Cordilleras, border control checkpoints have been strengthened along the Pangasinan borders with Tarlac, Zambales, Nueva Ecija and Nueva Vizcaya in a bid to strictly implement Gov. Pogi’s supplementary order.
While these families have all the right to return to their places of roots like all other Filipinos, they should wait until the critical situation in Metro Manila finally eases up.
We support this move because it is a preemptive action to protect its people from the dangers posed by the more transmittable COVID-19 variants suspected to have already exacerbated the situation in the NCR Plus bubble. Who would know if some of these travelers may be carrying the fierce UK, South African and Brazilian variants of the coronavirus because they are asymptomatic?
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Many believe that the fire that gutted the river side on interior Arellano street on a hot summer day last Holy Tuesday would not have reached its highest alarm level had there been an access road wide enough that could enable fire engines to pass through.
Fires in crowded communities, nay slum areas such as this, are bound to happen under the hot weather, when houses and shanties are dangerously close to each other and residents do not take safety measures to prevent conflagration.
I wonder if any of local Bureau of Fire Protection or the barangay officials ever made an assessment of these crowded communities so plans could be made to minimize the risk of fires.
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