Vanguard Duterte funds research for local vaxx ‘Kerocine’
Vanguard Duterte funds research for local vaxx ‘Kerocine’
Duterte funds research for local vaxx ‘Kerocine’
Tags: ,
April 1, 2021
Tags: ,
April 1, 2021

Faced with a shortage of COVID-19 vaccines, President Rodrigo Duterte announced today, April 1, that he is alloting funds to develop a locally made jab to be named “Kerocine”.

The vaccine’s key ingredient will be kerosene, the common household fuel, which the president said has “natural powers” against the coronavirus.

He added that he is already assembling a team of retired army generals to accomplish the task, with minimal assistance from scientists. “Kayang kaya ‘yan nina Heneral. I-mix lang nila ang kerosene at tubig na inubuhan, may vaccine na. Walang masyadong input kailangan mula sa mga scientist na iyan. Puwede na mag-rollout in one week,” he furthered.

(The generals can do that easily. They just have to mix some kerosene with water that has been coughed on, and they will have a vaccine. Not much input from scientists is needed. We can have a rollout in one week.) 

‘Revolutionary’ vaccine

Currently, all COVID-19 vaccines in use or in development fall under four types. “Whole virus” shots carry a weakened form of the virus or one with a destroyed genetic material in order to activate a response from the body’s immune system. “Protein subunit” jabs, meanwhile, only use a fragment of the protein found in the virus. The “nucleic acid” type, on the other hand, uses RNA or DNA to cause the body’s cells to create antigens. The “viral vector” ones, finally, use a different and harmless virus to instruct and catalyze the production of antibodies.

However, Kerocine will not fall under any of these categories or under other kinds of vaccines, for that matter. Instead of carrying a weakened virus, parts of it, or some genetic material, the shot will solely rely on kerosene as a key ingredient.

Explaining the mechanism, Duterte lectured, “Basic lang. Kasi iyang gaas, nasusunog ‘yan. ‘Pag i-inject ‘yan—I think into the nerves—gaya ng snake bite, parang antivenom. So nasusunog din ang loob ng katawan. So the body, magre-respond ‘yan. It will send blood cells na para ring mga bumbero ng katawan at papatayin ang virus para ma-immune na ang dugo.”

(That’s basic. Kerosene burns. When you inject it—I think into the nerves—like for a snake bite, with antivenom. The body’s interior also burns. So the body responds. It will send blood cells that act like the body’s firefighters and kill the virus to make the blood immune.)

“This type of vaccine has not been attempted before—ever,” Duterte further proclaimed, “It really is revolutionary.”

Ensuring effectiveness

Vaccines have to go through a series of stages in the development process to ensure they are effective and safe to use. This begins with exploratory laboratory research and pre-clinical testing, then proceeds to three-phase clinical trials, and eventually to regulatory review and approval.

But Duterte’s Kerocine is expected to speed through the entire process in record time. For one, because it has already been decided that some mixture of kerosene and contaminated water will be used, the lab research stage is practically done. 

Researchers will thus be able to immediately proceed to pre-clinical trials, which Duterte will lead with the ceremonial inoculation of his favorite horses. This stage will occur simultaneously with three phases of clinical trials, which will all be conducted with members of the Presidential Security Group as participants.

All these are expected to be completed within one week, as part of the government’s “clear and totally existent” vaccination plan, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque told the press.

Scientists ‘alarmed’

Duterte’s plans, however, were immediately met with strong objections from the scientific community.

The Integrated Chemists of the Philippines, which earlier debunked Duterte’s remarks that kerosene can be used as a disinfectant, stated in a Facebook post, “WTF stop telling people to use kerosene for everything.”

Likewise, the head of the National Institute for Legitimately Beneficial Scientific Research, Dr. Dee Pinapakinggan, called the idea “alarming and dangerously unscientific,” stressing that substances like kerosene pose health hazards, such as irritating the respiratory tract and causing vomiting, dizziness, and fainting.

“While it is important for the government to fund scientific research, the president should use actual science and actually listen to scientists,” she uttered.

Dr. Anthony Liempo, president of the Association of Neglected Epidemiologists, meanwhile, hit Kerocine’s development process, saying it was irresponsible and extremely risky to make a vaccine in such a way.

Duterte, however, asserted that he knew what he was talking about. “Napanaginipan ko ‘yan kaya alam kong effective. Ako presidente eh. Matalino ako. I’m a lawyer.”

(I dreamt of it so I know it’s effective. I am the president, after all. I am smart.)

EDITOR’S NOTE: The contents of this article were written for satire as commentary against the Philippine government’s mishandling of the pandemic and the president’s own unscientific remarks. Readers are advised to always verify scientific information, especially regarding COVID-19 vaccines. Public health experts agree that vaccination is crucial to ending the pandemic.