MANILA – The Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) will not be abolished with the creation of a national virology institute, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire assured on Saturday.
Vergeire said the RITM, which serves as the national coronavirus testing center, would only be under the Virology Institute of the Philippines (VIP) once it is established.
“(H)indi po totoo na ia-abolish natin ang RITM. Ilalagay lang natin siya sa malaking institusyon (kung saan) mai-improve pa natin or mas mapapalawak pa natin ang kanilang expertise sa research at pagpapagawa ng bakuna (It’s not true that we’re abolishing the RITM. We will only place it in a bigger institution to broaden their expertise in research and the creation of vaccines),” she said in a Laging Handa briefing.
Vergeire said the RITM’s inclusion in the VIP would not only expand its capacities but also increase its resources.
Under the proposed budget of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) for 2022, the creation of the VIP will receive about PHP983 million.
In July, the House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved with 198 “yes” votes House Bill 9559, which proposes the creation of VIP.
The VIP is envisioned to examine not only SARS-CoV-2 variants, which cause the coronavirus disease 2019, but all emerging viruses, their disease-producing properties, classification, cultivation, and genetics. (PNA)