The Department of Health (DoH) reported 6,216 new coronavirus infections on Friday, bringing the total to 153,660.

The death toll rose to 2,442 after 16 more patients died, while recoveries increased by 1,038 to 71,405, it said in a bulletin.

There were 79,813 active cases, 91% of which were mild, 7.3% did not show symptoms, 0.6% were severe and 1% were critical.

Of the new cases, 3,848 were from Metro Manila, 302 from Laguna, 242 from Rizal, 240 from Cavite and 178 from Bulacan, the agency said.

Nine of the new deaths were from Metro Manila, four from Central Visayas, and one each came from Bicol, Zamboanga Peninsula and Calabarzon regions, it said.

More than 1.8 million people have been tested for the virus, DoH said.

Presidential spokesman Harry L. Roque on Thursday said the Philippines and Russia seek to run phase 3 clinical trials of the Sputnik V vaccine for COVID-19 from October to March. The Food and Drug Administration might approve it by April, he added.

The clinical trial will involve about 3,000 volunteer patients.

The Philippines will also start trials for the Japanese flu drug Avigan as treatment for the coronavirus on Aug. 17, DoH said on Wednesday.

Philippine General Hospital, Sta. Ana Hospital, Dr. Jose N. Rodriguez Memorial Hospital and Quirino Memorial and Medical Center will participate in the Avigan trial.

Meanwhile, scientists said the Philippines could set up a fill-finish facility to prepare and take advantage of the business once the coronavirus vaccine is ready for mass production.

The Philippines could boost its research, training and production line so it can participate at least in the packaging phase of the vaccine, Annabelle Villalobos, a chemist at Central Mindanao University, said at an online forum.

She said setting up a research arm would be crucial to developing the facility for technical support, while more workers should be trained.

Establishing a fill-finish line — formulating the licensed product, filling the licensed product into vials, freeze-drying the drug substance so it can be mixed wiith the licensed product, and testing — would not only prepare the country for the mass production of COVID-19 vaccine but also allow it to process other imported vaccines in the future, Homer Pantua, a researcher at Genentech, Inc. said at the same forum. — Vann Marlo M. Villegas and BML